William Bowker, 1917-2005
William “Bill” Ellsworth Bowker, father of Gypsum resident Patti Hamberger, died at his son’s home in Silt on Thursday after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 88. Bowker was born Jan. 4, 1917 n to George Harold and Ramona Bowker in Kearney, Neb. He grew up on a farm during the Great Depression and graduated from Kearny High School. Later he moved to California where he was married and raised four children. On Dec. 8, 1941, he joined the U.S. Navy. From 1942-1943, he was served as a first class petty officer on a destroyer, then went to submarines as a diesel mechanic until late 1944. He escorted warships in the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe.
After leaving the military, he did various iron working jobs and later became a plumber, retiring from San Diego County Plumbers’ Local Union 230. He also was a volunteer for the San Diego Sheriffs’ Mounted Posse. Friends and family members say Bowker lived and loved the cowboy way of life. Riding horses was his passion and he continued to ride his mare, Ruby, until just before his passing, they said. He was a wrangler for hunting camps, rode in parades and often helped friends and neighbors with cattle drives. At the age of 70 he broke his last horse and was a pick-up man in the rodeo until he was 84, friends and family members say. Bowker also was an elder at the Hayfork Community Church in Hayfork, Calif.
Bowker is survived by two sons and daughters: Gloria Rose of Tucson, Ariz., Gary Bowker of Silt, Patti Hamberger, and Billy Bowker of Durango. He also has one stepson and two stepdaughters: Bill Kipp, Georgenne Rigdon and Cindy Pitts. He has 20 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.There will be a celebration of his life in Silt. In lieu of flowers or donations to the family, please pass on a good deed or act of kindness.