William H. (Bill) Bowers
William H. (Bill) Bowers
TYLER — William H. (Bill) Bowers passed away on April 6, 2020 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was predeceased by his parents, Mervin and Ovalee Bowers. He is survived by his wife, Rosie of Houston; children Melissa Davidson (Jason) of Friendswood, TX, William (Lisa) of Clifton, TX, Chris of Houston, and Jennifer Boyd (Hamilton) of Webster, TX; two grandsons Kellen and Landen Davidson, sisters Carla Bishop of Garland, TX, and Becky Berry of Tyler, TX, brother Robert of Lindale, and his band of brothers...former F-4 aircrew of Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons- 323 and 112.
Bill was born in Tyler on November 8, 1949. He graduated from both Robert E Lee High School in 1968 and Tyler Jr. College. After graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps completing basic officer training in Quantico, VA and Naval Flight Officer training in Pensacola, FL. In 1976, he was transferred to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron-323 in El Toro, CA as a Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) in the F-4 Phantom. He was aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1979 during the Iranian Hostage Crisis and flew in support of Operation Eagle Claw and completed Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) in 1984. After retirement from active duty, he served in the Marine Reserves for 17 years ending his service in 1998 at rank of Lt. Col.
Following his military service, Bill graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas and accepted a position with NASA. It was a fulfillment of his dream to work with the astronauts and the space program. In his more than 30 years of service to NASA, he served many roles including astronaut photography training, lead writer for Space Shuttle Crew Operations Manual, writer of NASA T-38 pilot’s manual, and finally as Safety Engineer with the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He was the recipient of the Silver Snoopy award which is presented by the Astronaut Office to individuals who made significant contributions to space flight safety.
Bill officiated football through the junior college level, retiring after 38 seasons. He and his family operated B-Square Photography 1992-2002 shooting game action of youth sports as well as league individual and team images.
Bill was a member of the Collings Foundation which preserves historic aircraft and operates the only civilian operational F-4 Phantom in the world. He had the privilege of flying with some excellent former Air Force pilots including Vietnam War Ace Steve Ritchie. At the time of his death, he was so very honored to be the last RIO still flying in the F-4. Bill took great pride in sharing his love of flying with his children and his sons worked and flew with him on various Foundations aircraft. One of his greatest joys was his son Will as his F-4 crew chief and his grandsons witnessing his F-4 flight at the 2017 Wings Over Houston air show. His daughters took his love of running to new heights by competing in triathlons including ironman and marathons.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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