A hero's sendoff for 'Doc' Bowen - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

A hero's sendoff for 'Doc' Bowen

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Otis 'Doc' Bowen Otis 'Doc' Bowen

To many, Otis Bowen was a political legend.  To those of us in Bremen, he was just "Doc".  I've always had a special connection to the man.  You see I was born on November 8, 1966: Election Day.  He was running for office that year and came to the hospital to visit my mom.            

My first memory of Doc as a little kid was watching him land in a helicopter on the baseball field.  "Doc's Home" people would say.  He was an inspiration to us kids.  We thought, if a guy from our town can be Governor and work with people in Washington, then why can't I be what I want to be?

His campaign slogan, emblazoned on a button I still own, said "I'm for Him" with his signature glasses.  You know what?  "He was for us"  Because he was one of us.

Doc Bowen was simple man who delivered more than 3,000 "Bowen Babies,"  including my wife.  He was there when the town needed him, whether it was to help build Jane's Park or to save a life.  Don Schneider of Don's Barber Shop said that his daughter had a medical problem and Doc came over and saved her life at two in the morning.  He said doctors don't do that anymore.

Friends in his hometown knew of his political greatness, but he was ours first, and we were proud that he called Bremen home.  Kent Adams was a friend and politician.  He said when he went to the state house, the door was always open and Doc always knew his name, just like he was back home.  Don the Barber said that he was just a good guy.  Nothing bad about him.  

Linda Clevenger said that you couldn't find any skeleton's in his closet.  She joked that "his closet was Bremen"   Linda was his neighbor.  She said friends would be in awe when they came over and saw that he would be out working in his yard.    

Her family honors Governor Bowen with a wall of memories.   She said he was proud of his Indiana State glass that he got when Larry Bird was playing there.  His cuckoo clock still hangs above the Fireplace.

You see he was that type of guy: genuine, honest old school.  He was comfortable with the President and the most powerful dignitaries, and he felt at home with friends and family in Bremen.  Linda said it wasn't anything to see him shopping at Woodies and even pushing his grocery cart.  

Friend and Granger politician Peter Deputy said he would joke with Doc about mowing his own lawn.  Bowen mowed even after he couldn't get a driver's license anymore.

People didn't know he planted 92 trees in his yard for the 92 counties of Indiana.  He didn't do it for show.  He did it because he cared about each and every one of them.

Doc Bowen changed lives.  Not only bringing them into the world, but as a leader he brought tax reform and 4 lanes to US 31.  He made history as the first M.D. to become Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Doc Bowen was yours and he was ours.  Always was; always will be.

He certainly will be missed.  It was appropriate that he got a hero's sendoff today.  I got chills as I saw the procession go by his old mansion.  How many of us used to take our out of town friends by there and say, "That's the Governor's house.  He made us proud.  Doc's home, and he will always be one of us.

These are my thoughts on 'Doc' Bowen.  Please share yours in the comments section below.

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