Pastors' Memoirs

Herbert Lee Bowers, Jr., 1932-1998

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 The Rev. Herbert Lee Bowers, Jr. died quietly at the age of 66 in his home in Machipongo on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia. His body was laid to rest in the cemetery at Johnsons United Methodist Church after services conducted by the Rev. Brooke Willson and the Rev. Albert Lee Crockett.

  Lee Bowers was born October 22, 1932, in Detroit, Michigan, to H.L., Sr. and Helen Small Bowers. He attended Ferrum and graduated from Virginia Tech before entering Westminster Theological Seminary. His first appointments included Burke-Sydenstricker, Waterford, Wachapreague, Tangier, and Fairfield. Taking a 10-year hiatus from the itinerant ministry to help raise a family on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Lee taught school, raised livestock, and continued to pastor part-time congregations including Collierstown, Mount Horeb, and Vesuvius Baptist. He returned to the full-time ministry in 1977, serving Prince Edward Charge; Onley-Greenbush; Shacklefords; Boykins; Monumental, Emporia; and Grace, Parksley where he retired on disability in 1992.

  Lee enjoyed sporting events, painting, and gardening. If you looked closely in his flower gardens you might notice a cucumber or tomato plant mixed in. He had a real passion for fishing and spent his final years as able wetting a hook on the wondrous Chesapeake Bay. Noting his competitive nature, a friend remarked that "Lee wanted to catch the first fish, the most fish, and the biggest fish!" His sense of humor came through in all he did.

  We can still vividly remember Lee’s sermon on the 23rd Psalm. He drew from his experiences on the farm where he raised sheep of his own to paint the most vivid word pictures. He made it very clear that this was a psalm of life, not death.

  The words of Simeon "lettest now thy servant depart in peace according to thy word" now seem to be so very appropriate. There is no doubt that today Lee "has seen thy salvation," Jesus Christ our Lord. It is now our task as friends and family to look back with grateful hearts for Lee’s life but more importantly to press on in the faith.

  The Rev. Bowers is survived by his wife, Diane Harkness Bowers; four sons, Daniel, Stephen, Timothy, and Paul; and their families; along with many other relatives and friends. For Lee: husband, father, brother, son, pastor, teacher, farmer, friend: Thanks be to God!

— The Family



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