Ernest Bowen Jr. Passes Away

Mr. Bowen was one of the subjects of the Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society’s oral history project. The Society has been interviewing/videoing folks who lived through WWII, Korean War, Vietnam and also those who lived and experienced many historic occasions pertinent to Northeast Mississippi.

Copies of the oral histories will soon be available at the Lee County Library in Tupelo, MS. Everyday, I see more and more obituaries about our American heroes. I wish we could get oral histories on them all. I encourage you to interview your own family and friends before it is too late. [Note: the obituary mentions “Lee County Historical Society but that should have been Northeast Mississippi Historical & Genealogical Society].

Susie Dent, president-editor, Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society.

Obituary: Ernest Bowen Jr.

TUPELO – Ernest Lake Bowen Jr., 88, died Friday, May 29, 2009, at The North Mississippi Medical Center after a brief illness. An Amory native, he was born Aug. 24, 1920, to Ernest L. and Charlie Evelyn Bowen. He was a longtime resident of Tupelo and a recent resident of the Mitchell Center at Traceway Retirement Community. At an early age he moved to Tupelo, where he was a graduate of the Tupelo High School Class of 1938. While in high school, he was a member of the American Legion Band. In 1942, he graduated from Mississippi State University. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served as a 1st Class Duty officer aboard a supply ship, the USS Denabola. He married his wife of 63 years, Virginia Baker of Pontotoc, on Dec. 20, 1945.

After returning to Tupelo, he was a salesman for L.P. McCarty and Sons before beginning his broadcasting career at WELO Radio in 1951. In 1956, he was named WELO’s general manager. He was past president of the Mississipppi Broadcaster’s Association and served as a Tupelo City alderman. In addition, he was active in the Rotary Club, Yoccona Area Council Boy Scouts, and the Lee United Neighbors and was a precinct election captain. Through his life he was frequently quoted, interviewed, photographed and filmed for his vast knowledge of the 1936 Tupelo tornado, his memories of WWII, Tupelo history and of Elvis and the Presley family. Recently he was documented for his WWII memories for the Lee County Historical Society. During his retirement years, he and his wife enjoyed building birdhouses, and exhibited at the Gum Tree Festival and the Tupelo Flea Market. He was a member of First United Methodist Church, where he served as an usher and on the Board of Stewards.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at The Jefferson Street Chapel of W.E. Pegues with the Rev. Andy Ray officiating.

Survivors include his daughter, Carol Bowen Tucker (Richard) of Madison; a son, Ernest “Bunny” Bowen III (Mary Helen) of Jackson; grandsons, Richard “Bo” Bowen Tucker (Emily) and William Christopher Tucker (Anna), all of Madison, and Michael Lake Bowen of Jackson; four great-grandchildren, triplets, Jack Bowen, Elizabeth Grace and Bryce Blake Tucker, and Taylor Ann Tucker, all of Madison; a brother, David Bowen (Joan) of Tupelo. He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Helen Ausley; and his wife, Virginia.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, P..O Box 854, Tupelo MS 38802.

Expressions of sympathy may be left at

Published in: on June 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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