Charles Clinton “Charlie” Bowers Jr., 89, of Frankfort died at Frankfort Regional Medical Center on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. A near-50-year resident of Hiawatha Trail, he resided in recent years at Morning Pointe, formerly The Neighborhood. He was born to the late Charles Clinton Bowers, Sr. and Manila Louise Pence Bowers on Jan. 12, 1924 in El Paso, Texas.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Martha Bowers, a native of Owensboro, Ky.; one sister, Merle Taylor, Midland, Texas; four nephews and one niece. He was preceded in death by sister Martha Louise Bowman of Berino, N.M. Mr. Bowers graduated from El Paso High School in 1942 and in 1948 from Texas A&M (then) College with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management. By A&M tradition, he is considered a member of the class of 1945. In 1943 Mr. Bowers interrupted his college studies to enlist in the U.S. Army. He first served in Panama as a canal-lock guard and in a jungle-patrol platoon. After 13 months in Panama, Mr. Bowers attended officer candidate school at Ft. Benning, Ga. After his commissioning as a 1st lieutenant, he trained anti-tank personnel in California until his discharge in 1946.
After completing college, in 1949 Mr. Bowers moved to Kentucky to join the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as a fisheries biologist, working the western Kentucky region out of Owensboro. He moved to Frankfort in 1954. He became director of the department’s Division of Fisheries in 1970 and retired in 1981. One of his major accomplishments was introducing the salt-water striped bass (rock fish) into Kentucky’s waters. Although not immediately popular with some sportsmen and anglers, the species soon became highly sought by sports fishermen, especially at Lake Cumberland and Cave Run Reservoir. After his retirement, for his forethought he received special recognition from Fish and Wildlife.
Through the years, he was often seen on the “Kentucky Afield” television program dressing and cooking fish. As Division of Fisheries director, Mr. Bowers also headed the muskie program at the Minor E. Clark Fish Hatchery in Morehead. He was a member of the Kentucky Silver Muskie Club and was inducted into the club’s hall of fame. He also was a member of Frankfort First United Methodist Church and in years past was the “unofficial fish-catching and -cooking expert” of the church’s Methodist Men group.
He led members on bluegill-fishing forays on the Kentucky River and at Herrington Lake, cooking the catch for meals at the group’s meetings. Fishing was his recreation as well as his vocation. After retiring he took up lapidary, making jewelry for Christmas presents and as gifts for retiring Fish and Wildlife employees.
Funeral services for Mr. Bowers are scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. at Clark Legacy Center, Versailles Rd., with the Rev. Wayne Sayre and the Rev. Jack Brewer officiating. Burial is to follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens. Casket bearers are Jim Axon, Joseph Burgess, Ellis Carter, Nick Castanis, Ted Crowell, Benjy Kinman, Pete Pfeiffer and Kerry Prather. Honorary casket bearers are Betty Gardiner, Sarah Castanis, Kathy Carter and Mary Ann Burgess. Visitation is scheduled at the funeral home on Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Flowers are welcome, and any donations are requested to be sent to Frankfort First United Methodist Church’s Stained Glass Window Renovation Fund.