Roger Everett Bowman

Roger Everett Bowman was born in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sept. 24, 1938.

He was the only child of Everett and Lois Bowman. Roger once traveled with his Dad at 4 years old to Madison Square Garden to the National Finals Rodeo in New York City where Everett was competing and was asked to sing onstage “You are my Sunshine” with the legendary Gene Autry.

When he was a teenager, Roger went off to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Mo. He attended for four years and became the junior golf champion there before graduating in 1956.

After graduation Roger immediately joined the U.S. Navy. He served two years of active sea duty and sailed to Japan and the Philippines. He also served two years in the Naval reserve.

Roger received an honorable discharge aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock CV-19 in 1959 with a special commendation for efficiency in duties from the chief of staff.

He returned to Wickenburg where he worked at the highway state yard, also known as the Department of Transportation.

Roger then joined the hometown baseball team playing third base. Norman Moore was also playing on the same team as first baseman, and was cousins with Carolyn Ann Petersen. That is how the young couple first met.

By early 1962 the two were in love and eloped to Las Vegas to be wed on Jan. 9 of that year.

That same year Roger joined the State Trooper Academy for the Arizona Highway Patrol. His career started in Casa Grande and then to Truxton along Route 66 for three and a half years and then to the Hoover Dam area working out of Kingman. He returned to Wickenburg to patrol until his retirement in 1982.

For that very first assignment, Roger was the only policeman in the area and was always the first one on the scene. He saw a lot of tragedy. He witnessed a lot of horrors.

It was a dangerous job, but Roger lived by his instincts. He dodged a bullet so many times in his work life.

He honed those instincts and taught the other younger troopers what to watch out for, how to be safe and how to protect their own lives.

To gauge a driver’s speed, in those early days, they used a stopwatch and timed the speeding car with lines on the road. He was quick and nimble with numbers in his head. Roger was a very smart man.

While on the force his time was way before the days of computers so he had to memorize the license plate numbers in his head. His memory was incredibly sharp. He could chase a car at 100 mph all while remembering the license plate number. He also became a sought-after pistol instructor during this time.

Roger saved many lives in the 20 years he was a highway patrolman. He was quoted in the Wickenburg Sun article that ran upon his retirement, “But how do I know? You never see the accidents you prevent. The only ones you see are the ones that happen.”

He was a true hero of the road.

When he started, guardrails used to just end abruptly. People would die hitting the railing with blunt force. He advised ADOT workers to begin installing them with the ends wrapping around and then pointing down thus saving many lives.

In some ways it was a miracle that he survived those early unprotected times of patrolling back in the days of the Detroit big-engine boat-type cars. There was no air conditioning in the patrol cars, and he was working every day in the hot desert. There was no type of shield between the front and back seat of the patrol car. There was no backup to call.

Roger was a man who definitely put himself in harm’s way for the public. He somehow survived and thrived throughout those pitfalls all with a laid-back approach and a very dry wit.

After retiring from the patrol he kept busy by keeping the tradition alive of having public dances with live bands at Bowman’s Barn that were always B.Y.O.B. events, renting the facility out for other parties and managing rentals on that same property. He then started up his much-loved hobbies of building and flying model airplanes, raising game birds and having a few mining claims. He also worked at Bear Cat Manufacturing during that time.

He decided to leave Arizona after selling off his land and moved his family of six to Washington in 1984.

Once in Washington state he held many positions through the years but settled in to working for Kimberly Clark paper company in a local mill for 14 years, still providing for his family. After his second retirement he began to reap the rewards of being a full-time Grandpa to his seven grandchildren.

Roger faced many health issues later in life, which included three brain tumor events. In his illness, he proved how tough and strong he was. He maintained his even-keeled nature throughout nine surgeries and was a great patient with a good attitude. He was resolved to fight and survive. He always showed so much fortitude. He also faced his suffering with stoic equanimity.

Roger was many things in his life.

He was a man with an incredible work ethic, working over 40-plus years to support his family.

He was a devoted Republican with a passionate love for his country.

He enjoyed watching many westerns and his favorite movie was “Shane.” He felt he had lived it with his own Dad.

Roger lived all his life about his family, whom he truly loved.

He quietly passed away Feb. 9, 2020, from complications of pneumonia.

He is survived by the love of his life, his wife Carolyn, to whom he was married for 58 years. He also leaves behind his four adored children Rochelle, John, Lee Ann and Clayton.

His love and legacy will live on in his six grandchildren Clarissa, Ilisa, Esther, Gina, Kate Lynn, and Levi, along with his great-grandson Joseph.

The family encourages you to please visit Dignitymemorial.com for the full obituary and please add any memories you may have of your old friend and coworker. It would be much appreciated by his children.

Donations can be made to the American Kidney Fund at Kidneyfund.org, as Roger’s 27-year-old granddaughter is currently receiving dialysis. Thank you.