Thomas Jefferson “Jeff” Bowman, III, well known Pendleton resident, ended life peacefully on March 28, 2015, in Franklin. Born August 1, 1924 on West Market St., Harrisonburg, VA, he was the son of the late Thomas J. “Tom” Bowman, II and Alice Rebecca Woodson Bowman. In 2010 he was predeceased by his sister, Alice Woodson Bowman Altizer Call. Influential in life was his uncle, the late Ernest Bowman of Franklin, with whom he partnered in business for many years.
On December 31, 1945, at Washington Street Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. Bowman married Dorothy Lee Lambert Bowman who survives. He is also survived by his son, Thomas J. Bowman, IV, and his daughter and son-in-law Rebecca Lynn Bowman and Richard W. Lough, all of Franklin. He was “Grand-Daddy Jeff” to devoted grandchildren, Matthew Bowman Lough, of Newport Beach, CA., and Adam Richard Lough of Franklin. Gatherings with his great-grandchildren, Maddison Hannah, Gracie Ella and Britton Masters Lough were joyous events. A number of nieces and nephews and several cousins also survive, including Mary Shay Reynolds Corneby, formerly of Franklin. Mr. Bowman was predeceased by a number of valued friends; among them were John Hott, Sumner Jones, John Miller, Bill Harr, Harry Byers, Morris Homan, John Harman, Philip Altizer, Bill Evick, Ben Aulde, Richard Boggs, L.T. Stickley, William McCoy, Jr. and Charles Sites.
Graduating from Franklin High School in 1942, he attended Greenbrier Military Academy until joining the United States Marine Corps. During World War II he served in the South Pacific aboard the heavy cruiser USS Alaska. He remained a proud Marine all the days of his life.
Descended from early Pendleton settlers, the Masters and Dices, Mr. Bowman was widely known as owner of Ernest Bowman & Brother, Inc., a hardware business founded in 1872 by his grandfather, Thomas J. Bowman, I. His greatest enjoyment derived from back-grounding beef cattle and his farming practices on Dickenson Mt. Farm garnered a number of awards, including Potomac Valley Conservation District’s Farmer of the Year in 2006. Partnership with Ernest Coatney (“Cody”) Evick offered his happiest and most productive years in the cattle growing industry. He served on the Board of Directors for The Pendleton Community Bank for 45 years, where his knowledge of the local real estate market was as asset. An active community leader, he was a town councilman and, for many years, president of Franklin Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Bowman was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Pendleton County Veterans of Foreign Wars. Joining other Pendleton businessmen in the late 1960s, Mr. Bowman was active in forming Pendleton Industries (now EDA), a group dedicated to improving local economic development. A lifelong member of Franklin United Methodist Church, Mr. Bowman faithfully served in numerous administrative capacities, and was noted for his steadfast devotion to the Methodist tradition. An avid sportsman, Mr. Bowman enjoyed hunting, fishing, and horseback riding, and held a lifelong interest in forestry. Family and friends will recall his pleasure at their company during summer evenings on his Main Street porch.
Farewell arrangements are entrusted to Basagic Funeral Home in Franklin where written expressions of sympathy may be left at www.basagic.com. Franklin United Methodist will be open all day, April 2, 2015, for those who wish to visit in private remembrance with cremains and sign the guest book. Friends are invited to join the family at Franklin United Methodist Church sanctuary for a time of casual visiting and sharing from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. the same day. A celebration of life and music will begin at 3:00; interment of ashes will be private at a later date. Immediately following the service all are invited to the family home, 408 North Main St. Franklin, for light refreshments and remembering this good man and celebrating a life well-lived.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Pendleton County Rescue Squad, Franklin, WV 26807.