Albert R. Bowen Jr., 84, lawyer, decorated veteran

July 04, 2006|By FREDERICK N. RASMUSSEN | FREDERICK N. RASMUSSEN,SUN REPORTER

Albert R. Bowen Jr., a retired lawyer and decorated veteran who served with the Army's Counter Intelligence Corps in Europe during World War II, died of Parkinson's disease Thursday at the College Manor nursing and retirement home in Lutherville. He was 84.

Mr. Bowen was born in Baltimore, raised on Darley Avenue and graduated in 1935 from City College.

While working at Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland as a file clerk and bookkeeper, he studied law at night at the University of Baltimore and earned his degree in 1940.

When he was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1941, Mr. Bowen was a claims adjuster for Insurance Co. of North America. He entered the Army that year.

FOR THE RECORD - An obituary published in Tuesday's editions of The Sun for Albert R. Bowen misstated his age. Mr. Bowen was 89.
The Sun regrets the error.

He was assigned to the Counter Intelligence Corps at the War Department in Washington, and after graduating in 1942 from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., he joined VIII Corps at its headquarters in Texas.

In 1943, he was sent to England as a counterintelligence detachment commander with VIII Corps and landed on Utah Beach, at Normandy, on June 12, 1944, six days after the D-Day invasion.

"Our mission was the security of Allied forces from the activities of spies, agents and saboteurs," said James H. Bready, a retired Evening Sun editorial writer and counterintelligence officer whose command was attached to Mr. Bowen's after the Battle of the Bulge in 1945.

"And here was this good guy from Baltimore. After the war, I joined the Army Reserve and Al was the commanding officer of the 338th Counter Intelligence Corps detachment in Baltimore," Mr. Bready said. "He was an outstanding character with a sharp sense of humor and could talk about World War II without becoming a bore."

Mr. Bowen earned the Bronze Star for meritorious service in military operations in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, as well as five battle stars for his World War II service.

"I think because the very nature of his service was very secretive, he told us only a few stories," said his son, Albert Rodney "Duke" Bowen III of Parkton.

"One he told was of being behind enemy lines and trying to dodge Gen. George S. Patton's advance and firepower. Another was during a shelling by mortars, Dad was in a building hiding under one table while Patton, wearing his pearl-handled pistols, was right next to him under another table."

Mr. Bowen remained an active reservist and was commander of the 396th Military Intelligence Security Company in Baltimore from 1959 until his retirement as colonel in 1977.

As a reminder of his World War II days, Mr. Bowen kept a large framed map detailing VIII Corps combat activities.

"Every time I walk by it," he wrote in a letter to Mr. Bready several years ago, "I am awed from my present point of view that so much could have happened to me in such a short period of time."

In 1946, Mr. Bowen returned to Baltimore and established Winter & Bowen, a general law practice, in the Fidelity Building. He retired in 2004.

"He was always extremely proud of his service to his county, and the Fourth of July was his favorite holiday. He hung flags and banners and planned a special celebration with a theme," his son said. "It was a day he thought that honored both our country's independence and fighting forces."

Mr. Bowen was an avid flower and vegetable gardener and also liked cooking.

One of his major interests was building comfortable treehouses for his children and grandchildren.

"I was 8 or 10 when he built `Duke's Vista,' and when he built a treehouse, it always came with a legal deed," his son said.

After many years in Govans and Parkton, he had lived at College Manor since 2004.

He was a member of Faith Lutheran Church, 8 Sherwood Road, Cockeysville, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Also surviving are his wife of 63 years, the former Emma Martin; three daughters, Jean B. Hughes of Frederick, Nancy B. Rizer of Parkton and Janet B. Goetzke of Perry Hall; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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