We join in the multitude of state and national accolades and expressions of sympathy in the passing of Governor Otis R. Bowen, M.D. It is not often a local organization, such as ours, is justified to add to the many and deserved descriptors of his life of public service by declaring quite simply, he was one of our own.
Doc Bowen began his storied political career as our elected county coroner. The bite by the political bug must have been deep early in the 1950’s as he moved on to begin the first of eight terms as our State Representative, seven of which were consecutive after having suffered a defeat by a mere four votes on his first bid for re-election. Having learned the hard way and openly sharing the lesson throughout his life that every vote counts, we returned Doc to the legislature as our representative for the next twelve years where the esteem of his colleagues was evident by their election of him first as their Minority Leader, and then as Speaker of the House for four legislative sessions. And all the while Doc, as the quintessential citizen legislator, continued to raise his family and maintain the practice of family medicine in his hometown of Bremen. He remained, one of our own.
Doc’s career in elected office culminated with his two consecutive terms as our governor. His brief tenure as a clinical professor of medicine, was followed by entry on the national stage as President Regan’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. And he still remained, one of our own.
Otis R. Bowen, M.D., governor, professor, cabinet secretary, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, a man for not merely his time, but for all time. His humility, grace and charm projected his uncompromising conviction of honesty, compassion, and kindness. Simply virtues that often seem so lacking in today’s world. We will be forever enriched by his legacy. Dr. Bowen did more than make a difference in public service; he taught us how to pursue excellence in all that we do. And we will always proudly claim, he was one of our own.