William B. Bowen, 98, passed away on November 5th, 2019. He was born in Elizabeth Township on October 29, 1921, one of six sons of Edward and Sarah Sommerville Bowen. When he was six years old, he caught his first glimpse of a bi-plane flying overhead, a rare sight in rural Pennsylvania in the 1920’s. That was a defining moment for him, because it marked the beginning of a life-long love affair with flight. He eventually realized his dream of becoming a pilot by earning his pilot’s license and becoming an accomplished aviator and member of the Civil Air Patrol. At the age of sixteen, he enlisted in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an organization that was created by the federal government during the Great Depression to provide training and employment to young men from low-income families. He made the long cross-country journey by train to New Mexico, where he was trained as a mason to build and repair walls and structures. This training and experience served him well when he enlisted in the U.S. Army following America’s entry into WWII. Young men who had served in the CCC were considered ideal candidates for military service as a result of the skills and discipline they had acquired. During WWII, he served as a medical corpsman with the 306th Medical Battalion attached to the 81st Infantry (Wildcat) Division in the Pacific Theater, earning the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon with two Bronze Stars, the American Theater Ribbon, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one Bronze Star, and the Victory Medal. He and his late wife, Darlene, lived in West Newton, PA, for over fifty years, during which time he was employed as a ventilation engineer by Republic Steel Corporation. However, he is best known throughout the surrounding communities for his work as a master stonemason. The many structures that he created in the local area stand as enduring testaments to his practical and artistic skills. Yet, his greatest achievements are to be found in the humble, day-to-day events that made up a life well-lived. His impish sense of humor and warm, gentle nature won him many friends and admirers. He was the loving and devoted husband of Darlene Tobin Bowen, his wife of 71 years, until her passing in July of 2018. He is survived by his daughter, Yvonne Bowen Fike, and her husband, Rodger, of Irwin, PA; a grandson, Justin William Lake and spouse, Robert, of Gilbert, AZ; brothers Glen and Donald Bowen; and many nieces and nephews. Friends will be received 2-4 & 6-8 pm Thursday at the J. William McCauley, Jr. Funeral Home, 901 Vine St. West Newton, where a Funeral Service will be held at 10 am Friday. Interment will follow in West Newton Cemetery. Condolences may be left at http://www.mccauleyfuneralhomes.com
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