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Harry Bowman

Harry Leon Bowman, 79, of Clermont, Florida was born in Jacks Creek, Tennessee to Bob and Georgia (née Dunavant) Bowman. Raised in Henderson County, Tennessee, he graduated as Valedictorian from Lexington High School. After receiving a B.Th. from Pentecostal Bible Institute (Tupelo, MS), he was awarded a B.S. from Union University (Jackson, TN). He completed his educational studies by earning an M.S. and an Ed.D. in Foundations of Education from George Peabody College (Nashville, TN).

Beginning his career as an educator, he worked for the Southeastern Education Laboratory in Atlanta and for Northeast Louisiana State University in Monroe. He joined the College of Education faculty at the University of Memphis in 1970. He retired as Associate Dean of the College of Education to begin a new career with the Commission on Occupational Education Institutions (COEI) with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Under his leadership as Executive Director, COEI became an independent accrediting agency for post-secondary vocational schools. When he retired from the Council on Occupational Education (COE), he was named Director Emeritus. Although retired, he continued to invest his time by leading numerous team visits to vocational schools and at the time of his death he was serving on the boards of the Mid-South Education Research Association (MSERA), the American Technical Education Association (ATEA), and the Southern Regional Educational Research Association.

The University of Memphis recognized him as an Outstanding Researcher and the College of Education recognized him as a recipient of the Earl Crader Award. MSERA created the Harry Bowman Service Award which is given annually. He was a Past President of the Board of SACS. He was named recipient of the ATEA Jean Koch Outstanding Achievement Award in 2016.

He faithfully served as a member on the Board of the Episcopal College Ministry, the Metropolitan Ministry and the Episcopal Counseling Center for the Diocese of West Tennessee. In the past he served as a member of the vestry at All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Memphis), as Treasurer at Church of Our Saviour (Atlanta), and as Senior Warden of St. Matthias Episcopal Church (Clermont, FL). He attended numerous Diocesan conventions as a Lay Delegate.

He is preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Wayne and Mason Bowman.

His survivors include his wife, Deborah; his children Kimberly Volner and Harry “Robin” Bowman, Jr. of Lexington, TN, Christopher Bowman (Delaine) of Franklin, TN, and Robert Bowman (Ashley) of Tallahassee, FL; his siblings Omega Turpin (Stevie), Patsy Free, and Samuel Bowman (Brinda). He leaves 10 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and 16 nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends from 9:00 until 10:00 a.m. and a funeral service will immediately follow, Sunday, April 29 at Memorial Park Funeral Home. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery.

We have decided to honor Harry’s memory at the University of Memphis.

Friends may give at this link (click here).

They will select:
“One Time Gift”
Enter the donation amount
Click “This Gift is in honor or memory of someone”
Enter Dr. Harry Bowman’s name in the space “Name(s) of Honored or Memorialized”

If individuals would like to give by check/mail they may mail them to the address below, listing “In Memorial of Dr. Harry Bowman” on the memo line.

By mail:
Make your check payable to the University of Memphis Foundation
Department 238
The UofM Foundation
P.O. Box 1000
Memphis, TN 38148-0001

Arrangements have been entrusted to Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38119 (901) 767-8930. “Celebrating Life… Behind the Stone Wall”. 

April 29, 2018
9:00 am
- 10:00 am
Memorial Park Funeral Home
5668 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN 38119
Get Directions
Funeral service
April 29, 2018
10:00 am
Memorial Park Funeral Home
5668 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN 38119
Get Directions
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  1. Harry Bowman of Clermont, Florida

    Written by: Jessalyn Bailey

    Debbie – I was stunned to learn of Harry’s death & had no idea until I got your letter today informing me! We had a good phone conversation right after my Sam died last June. Sam & I enjoyed all our visits with him , & those two Henderson County boys who grew up & graduated together treasured their friendship! Prayers for comfort for you & your family! Great memories!

  2. Dr. Carolyn McKellar Gibson

    Written by: Dr. Carolyn McKellar Gibson

    Dr. Harry Bowman supervised my work as a graduate research assistant at the University of Memphis and was also the statistician advisor on my doctoral committee. For me, as for countless others, Dr. Bowman was a role model of the very best in academia. He was a consummate professional, calm, steady, witty, and kind. We worked closely together for two years in the Bureau of Educational Research and Services; he was there when I delivered my first research paper at MSERA. In my 30 year career as a faculty member at UTHSC, I consciously sought to give students and colleagues the same considerate attention that Harry Bowman gave to me. I thank God for Harry’s life, for the ongoing positive effects of his contributions to education, and for his Christian witness. My deepest condolences to Debbie and to all of the family. Heaven grows ever richer.

  3. An amazing man: a kind soul, yet a rock.

    Written by: Rob Kennedy

    I am so saddened to hear of the loss of Dr. Harry Bowman. I first met him as a recent graduate at the Mid-South Educational Research Association meeting in Biloxi in 1985. His calm and professional demeanor was reassuring. He was encouraging and helpful to me as I began my career in higher education. I was fortunate to become much better acquainted with him as I worked with MSERA over the years. My respect for Harry grew as I learned more about this amazing man. He was such a kind soul, yet a rock in difficult times. His guidance was appreciated by many when decisions needed to be made. His loss will be felt by many. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to cross paths with him in this life. I pray for him and his family.

  4. Service, with a smile

    Written by: David Morse

    We mark with sadness this date of April 21, as one of our best colleagues and unwavering supporters of the Mid-South Educational Research Association passed from this life. For four decades, I had the pleasure of interacting annually with Harry via MSERA. His record of unselfish service to the organization was formally recognized with an eponymous award for outstanding service; this is the most prestigious honor that MSERA bestows. If ever one needed a quick reminder of where the organization met in a given year, or who was president at the time of some policy change, or of the current language of the constitution and bylaws of the organization, Harry was the go-to of choice. Always kind, always civil, always on point; he will be missed. My deepest condolences to his immediate and extended family.

  5. Death reminds us that nothing is promised and life is worth the journey. My deepest condolences to the family of the late Dr. Harry Bowman. There are no words to describe my sadness in learning of his passing. As a young graduate student attending MSERA for the first-time, Dr. Bowman welcomed me to the association and encouraged my professional development. His unwavering commitment to the advancement of MSERA and mentoring of future scholars will be greatly missed.

    Dr. Bowman made his mark in this life. He will forever be remembered as a respected educator, colleague, and friend. While Harry has departed this life, the wonderful memories of the time we shared in service to MSERA will live on forever.


  6. My heart goes out to Debbie and all of the family in this time of sorrow. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I am deeply saddened by the death of my friend – my mentor – my colleague: and yet, I am comforted in that, as recently as last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with and sharing time with my friend. Harry will be fondly remembered by all those whose lives he made better. He was a man with the heart of a servant-leader. I shall miss my friend.

    “O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother Harry. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (BCP 493)

  7. 45 Years of Friendship & Working Together

    Written by: Walter M. Mathews

    Harry and I began our life-long friendship and working relationship at the first meeting of MSERA in New Orleans in 1973.
    I didn’t know at the time that he was the silent pillar behind Fred Bellott’s outstanding Bureau of Educational Research at Memphis State University.
    Over those 45 years–and as recently as eight days ago in NYC–Harry and I worked together closely on research, grants, conferences, professional presentations and organizational architecture, at the local, regional and national levels.
    For decades, Harry was the soft-spoken, competent consigliere for MSERA and SRERA–and, of course, for me personally.
    His leadership at COE added strength and luster to the agency.
    I know of no one who was so widely respected for his honesty, objectivity and fairness. Harry was a true gentleman.
    He was the model for other-centeredness: always sensitive to the wants and needs of others–without regard for his own interests or comforts. On top of this, he was very bright, totally competent and extremely hard working.
    I had no truer and more loyal friend and colleague than Harry Bowman.
    We all miss him already. He is irreplaceable to so many of us.

  8. My condolences. God has promised that the time will come when all sickness, suffering, and death will be gone forever.
    Isaiah 33:24; 25:8

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