On April 12 th 2023 Edgar Jeffrey Bowers, Jr. passed away from renal failure at Howard County General Hospital surrounded by his family at the age of 91. He is survived by brother Kenneth, sister Joan, children Matthew, Michael ,and Maryann, grandchildren Grant, Celia, and Kent, and his nieces and nephews.
Edgar Jr. was born on August 13 th , 1931, in Brooklyn NY to Edgar Sr., a Brooklyn police officer, and Annabelle (nee Brackin), a Western Union telegram operator, originally from Dothan, AL.
He was the oldest of four, with a younger sister and two younger brothers. He mentioned great times going to Coney Island.
At nine years of age, an explosion at a neighbor’s house resulted in Edgar being severely burned by flaming debris landing on the back of his neck. Doctors attending him predicted a very low probability of survival, but after several months in the hospital and multiple skin graft operations, Edgar was able to return home to a normal life. The scars from the injury remained for the rest of his life.
Edgar was an avid baseball fan his whole life, starting with the (original) Brooklyn Dodgers. He went to games regularly; he and his 9-year-old sister Joan were even present at the infamous Ebbets Field scrap metal drive riot in 1942.
At 15, Edgar traveled to Florida with nothing but the clothes he was wearing. After a 6-day ordeal of hitchhiking, working odd jobs, and sleeping outside, he successfully made his way to Ft Lauderdale and found work setting pins in a bowling alley there. After about 3 weeks Edgar Sr. took a bus to collect him and bring him back to NY.
Edgar graduated from High School a year early, and earned admission to The Cooper Union, an all - scholarship engineering school in New York City. He left after one year.
Edgar was a huge jazz fan and was fortunate to live in New York in jazz’s golden age. He saw live music at (among other places) the infamous Birdland and told stories of Dizzy Gilespie, Dave Brubeck and others. He left his family a well-worn collection of jazz LPs.
In 1952, Edgar was called into military service in the Army, and served during the Korean war.
After working a succession of odd jobs, he resumed his engineering studies at the University of Maryland, enrolling in the Chemical Engineering program. He worked his way through school as a busboy at sorority houses on campus, and as a Good Humor Man during the summers.
Edgar was a champion chess player in college. He played on the varsity chess team, going undefeated on the 3 rd board against intercollegiate competition. He attended all UM home football and basketball games, becoming a lifelong supporter of Terrapin athletics. He graduated in 3 years with a BS in Electrical Engineering. All three of Ed’s children are graduates of the University of Maryland.
He was a scratch bowler who bowled a set score of 704 before ever rolling a 600. He was secretary of the West Baltimore Major Bowling league at Unitas Colt lanes, and won the Baltimore City doubles championships in 1962.
After graduation, he joined the Analytical Section of Westinghouse Air Arm Division in Baltimore, where he worked for 34 years until his retirement in 1994. Early in his career, Edgar worked on NASA projects, writing one of the first digital Kalman Filters to simulate lunar orbits in the leadup to the Apollo missions. Later in his career he worked on military projects, such as analytical work on the first working airborne Pulse Doppler radar, and engineering and implementing the guidance interface between the F16 radar and the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
While in Pittsburgh with Westinghouse, he met his wife Rita when she was a recent nursing school graduate. They were married in 1961 and moved to the Greenwich Garden Apartments in west Baltimore. Their first two children (sons Matthew and Michael) were born shortly after at St. Agnes hospital. In 1966, they moved to a house in Ellicott City, Maryland, where the family grew with the addition of a daughter, Maryann.
Putting down roots in Ellicott City, Edgar took up coaching HCYP, joined Resurrection parish, and played bridge and golf regularly in the area. He transferred allegiance from the Dodgers, who had since left Brooklyn, to the Orioles, and remained a fan for the rest of his life. He got a piano and would play it every night after dinner, usually jazz standards. He always loved playing and seeing others play the piano, and particularly loved hearing his daughter Maryann play.
Ed’s love of both bridge and golf carried on throughout his life. He considered the Forest Park municipal course his “country club”, and was always greeted cheerfully by the staff there. Kids joke that he used to have Mom read the bridge column to him on long drives for “entertainment”. In his later years he teamed up in bridge games and tournaments with his brother Bob, another avid bridge player.
Following Rita’s death, Edgar lived with his partner Ginny Heckl in the Riverside Circle home through about 2018. From then until Easter Sunday, Edgar lived independently in the Ellicott City home he bought for his family in 1966.
He played bridge competitively and enjoyed meeting friends for a regular Friday morning bagel breakfast. He regularly attended Sunday mass at the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, followed by Sunday Jazz Brunch at the White Oak Tavern.
Services for Edgar will be held at the Witzke Funeral Home on Columbia Pike on Wednesday, April 19 th . Visitation from 3-5 PM, and a funeral service from 5-6 PM. Edgar will be buried next to Rita Thursday 10AM at Crestlawn Memorial Gardens in Marriotsville.
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