Edgar Bowers Enjoys Life In Teague
4/10/2014 by BY MIMI BROWN
Edgar M. Bowers, Jr.
?My dad left home when he was 14 years old and worked in the cotton fields near Jewett, said Mr. Edgar Bowers. ?He would sit the men in the fields on a stump and give them haircuts and became very good at it. He had an uncle who was a barber with a shop on Main Street in Teague. He went to work for him and studied under him to get his license.? He never left Main Street. Edgar Marvin Bowers, Sr. had the leading barber shop in Teague for 61 years. He married Janie Pearl Looney in 1908 and the couple went roller skating on their honeymoon in Thornton.
Edgar Marvin Bowers Jr. was born at the family?s home on 8th Avenue. He remembers his older sister and her friends holding him and dancing on the porch when, all of a sudden, they fell through the living room window. No one was injured but that?s a pretty vivid memory for a two year old.
Edgar was a very popular young man who was Captain of the football team and running back for the 1939 Teague Lions. He was also president of his class each year of high school. ?In my senior year I was running for President of the Student Body against Hardy Martin. I lost to Hardy by one vote. I later found out that Jeannie Pollock, who would later be my wife, voted against me,? said Bowers. ?She was the one who made me lose the election,? he laughed.
Following graduation Mr. Bowers attended Westminster College in Tehuacana for two years and studied to earn his pilots license. He was scheduled to be a candidate for Annapolis Naval Academy, however he chose to join the Naval Air Corps where he volunteered for torpedo training. He wanted to join the fleet in World War II and sink a Japanese ship.
When he picked up his orders he found that he was chosen to be a flight instructor. He was only 21 years old and he was on the Instructor Advancement Squad where he taught teams of 10 Cadets, including former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and they had to salute Sr. Lieutenant Bowers everyday.
Toward the end of the war Bowers finally got his chance at bombing a Japanese ship. It was the last invasion but before going into Japan when President Truman made the decision to drop the bomb and that ended the war. It was over.
Edgar and Jeannie were sweethearts before he received his commission and were married in February of 1943. She moved with him to the west coast and then to Chicago, Norfolk, VA, Miami, FL, and other bases along the east coast.
Lieutenant Bowers thought about staying in the service and making a career but decided to go home to Teague with his family. Their daughters Martha and Barbara Ann came home with them and Edgar went to work for the railroad. He was a yard clerk and worked 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. 7 days a week. It was then that his boss posted a notice that he was firing a man and Bowers would have to do his job as well. He quit.
A friend told Edgar of a position at the, very new, Social Security Administration so he went and took his Entrance Exam for a Future Administration Career in 1947. He then went to work for the Social Security in Corpus Christi for training and spent 6 or 7 years there. They moved about every two years. They lived in Waco, Sherman, San Angelo, opened a new office in Victoria, and went to Lafayette, LA. Mr. Bowers was then transferred to Houston where he started as Assistant Manager and then became Manager of the largest Social Security office in the United States. He was also the youngest manager of any office.
In the next years Mr. Bowers became close friends with Lyndon Baines Johnson and decided to take what he thought would be a demotion and move to Austin but when he arrived he had the highest Field Grade and entered that office at the same level as before. Bowers stayed friends with Johnson over the years and corresponded often.
He retired in 1977 and moved back to Freestone County. He and Jeannie bought a small ranch and built a house in Burleson Hill, a 3 or 4 miles out of Dew. They enjoyed their time there until Jeannie?s mother needed care and they moved into town to be close to her. Following her death, Edgar and Jeannie stayed in her mother?s home in Teague and still live there. They still own the ranch and their granddaughter is living there. The Bowers? attend the Freestone Church of Christ and are still active on the Board for the B-RI Railroad and Historical Museum. Once a month they still open the museum on Saturday and Sunday. As well as their daughters they have two granddaughters, Sutton Aldrich and Sarah Hawkins and one great granddaughter, McKenzie Aldrich. Mr. Bowers had his 92nd birthday on April 5, 2014.
?I?m sure glad I was born and raised in this little town,? said Edgar. ?I?ve always loved it.?