Funeral services for retired Sulphur Springs Fire Department Captain Willard Lewis “W.L.” Bowen, 89, of Sulphur Springs, will be at 10 a.m. Monday, July 10, at Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home with Pastor Nickie Pinson officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Burial with military honors will follow the service at Peerless Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Floyd Lawson, Brian Adams, Jay Stonaker, Billy Howard, Leland Burks and Randy Steele. Honorary pallbearers will be retired and current members of the SSFD.
Willard passed away July 7, 2023, at Carriage House Manor.
He was born in the Peerless Community on Jan. 12, 1934, the son of Homer Lewis and Romie Owens Bowen. He attended Peerless Public School through 8th grade and North Hopkins School for 9th grade before dropping out, opting to earn his GED later in life. He was a long-time member of the Peerless Full Gospel Assembly of God.
Willard’s military service included duties in the U.S. Army Company D 3D Armored Rifle Battalion/144th Infantry 49th Armored Division at Fort Polk, the Army National Guard of Texas and the U.S. Army Reserve. He served more than six years from 1956 to 1962 in military service, earning the rank of Sgt. E-5.
He worked as a lab technician at North Texas Producers Association in Sulphur Springs before becoming a fireman with the City of Sulphur Springs in 1966. He retired in 1997 as a Shift Captain after 30 years with the SSFD. He returned part-time to the SSFD in 1999, serving as Code Enforcement/Weed Abatement Officer until 2021, for a total of 52 years of employment with the city.
Outside of the SSFD, Willard worked at various times remodeling houses, installing and servicing satellite tv systems, building and repairing computers and in his own locksmithing business. A home theater enthusiast, he also enjoyed fishing, learning piano, woodworking and time with his dog.
Willard was also a former Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy and a Sulphur Springs Police Department Reserve Officer.
Among his survivors are nieces and nephews, several cousins, his “sweet boy” Luke, many SSFD brothers and a family of friends.
Willard was preceded in death by his parents, a nephew, a niece, two sisters-in-law and his two brothers, Wayne and Weldon.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Peerless Full Gospel Assembly of God, 268 Spur 71, Sulphur Springs, TX 75482