In Memoriam
Marvin Bowman
Marvin Bowman
Class of 1957

AIKEN, S.C. - Mr. Marvin Bowman, 71, died Saturday, May 15, 2010, at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. Born in Lenoir, N.C., he was the son of the late Carl Bowman and Mildred Watts Norris.

Before moving to Aiken in 2003, he lived in Athens, Ohio for 30 years. He graduated from Cradock High School in Portsmouth in 1957. Marvin received his bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary and received his master's degree from Syracuse University. He retired after 30 years of service as the director of Educational Telecommunications at Ohio University.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Wiggins Bowman; daughter, Laura L. Bowman and her husband Scott Zink of Hamden, Conn.; son, Robert E. Bowman and his wife Martha Ann Spruill of Richmond, Va.; brother, Kelly Bowman and his wife Sandra of Krum, Texas; sister-in-law, Donna Russell and her husband Carl of Anchorage, Alaska; brother-in-law, Vernon Wiggins and his wife Joan of Cochran, Ga.; several nieces and nephews.

A funeral for Mr. Marvin Lee Bowman will be held Wednesday, May 19, at 11 a.m. in George Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 211 Park Ave. SW, Aiken, S.C. Interment will follow in Hebron Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Garfield, Ga. at 3 p.m.

The family will receive friends today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 107 Westpark Blvd., Suite 150, Columbia, SC 29210 or Aiken Community Playhouse, 124 Newberry St. NW, Aiken, SC, 29801, or the Aiken County Historical Museum, 433 Newberry St. NW, Aiken, SC, 29801. Expressions of sympathy for the Bowman family may be left through

Published in The Virginian Pilot on May 18, 2010

For the family and friends of Marvin Lee Bowman 1939-2010

Who knew in January 1939 that this tiny newborn son of Carl and Mildred Watts Bowman, from where the high country of North Carolina begins, would travel so far and be so loved as our Marvin?

Who knew in June 1957 that this boy from a humble family in working class Cradock with a public school education would master academia and make his career mark in education, the arts and telecommunications at the oldest public institution of learning in the Northwest Territory?

Who knew that our friend Marvin would retire to explore the Mayan civilization in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, or see the flora and fauna of the southern hemisphere and exotic sites in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Bangkok, Thailand, or live in Yaba, Nigeria and be dislodged by insurgency in Biafra, which led to 30,000 deaths and 1.7 million refugees, or see the Waimea Canyon of Kauai, Hawaii, the behemoth trees of the Sequoia National Forest, the vista of El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley, or know first hand the site of the Okavango Delta in Botswana emptying into the Kalahari Desert?

We knew that Marvin was destined for a good life and he lived that good life. Please look at Marvin’s photo gallery. Coupled with your imagination, his album will take you on a tour of the voyage Marvin, Mary and their children enjoyed in a fantastic lifetime of challenge and enormous happiness.

Do not mourn for Marvin because of his premature death, but rather see his life for something else, a lifetime experiencing accomplishment, seeing great beauty, loving ideas passionately and being loved by a wonderful family and many friends. Sharing his life has enhanced ours. Being his friend has caused us to share in his happiness.

An apocryphal story tells about Marvin Bowman…in a small village sheltered in the foothills of a great mountain range, a quiet forest dweller patrolled the hills, cleaned the springs of silt and fallen leaves, of mud and accumulating trash, and took away from the spring all foreign matter. The water that bubbled up ran down clean, cold, and pure through the streams to the river and the town below.

At budget review time, the town council found the line item: “Keeper of the Springs” and discussed, debated and decided to dispense with these services to save costs. They were unaware of all that he did. Soon, the water did not seem to be clean and pure and a diseased scum befouled the river’s surface. Later, epidemic raged, and the clammy, fingers of dread sickness reached to the town’s every street and lane and into every home.

The errant council found their ‘Spring Keeper’ and restored him to his post and in short order pure water came lilting down under tunnels of ferns and mosses to sparkle in the cleansed city reservoir. Stenches disappeared. Sickness waned and convalescent children playing in the sun laughed again. The swans who deserted the place in the keeper’s absence returned.

Marvin Bowman was a “Keeper of the Spring” which nurtures us. He went about his daily routines and duties and cared for his extended family just as he cared for and loved his own family. The work was often ordinary, fix what could be fixed and replace what could not, greet everyone with a warm smile, a caring question, and a pat on the back! He looked out for all of us and selflessly worked to ensure that his special mission he had accepted was done well and to the best of his ability.

It comforts me to know that we are spiritual, more than mortal beings, and that beyond our spirit’s mortal mask is the realm of immortality which fire cannot burn, water cannot wet, wind cannot dry, weapons cannot cleave, sickness cannot destroy. The spirit is ancient, unborn and never dies. Marvin’s spirit will be with us always. It is eternal. It cannot die.

Eulogy, from the ancient Greek language means “Good Talk”, and good talk is what this is. Marvin Bowman, my friend, was a good man. His memory is my keepsake; I have it in my heart.

bk 5-17-2010