PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Friends and family are remembering Ted Bowers, who died Saturday. Bowers was an attorney, who quietly made his mark on both the local legal and education communities.
He was the fifth of thirteen children. Theodore Roosevelt Bowers, more commonly known as "Ted", spent 87 years building a legacy in the county he called home.
"He made the path easier for me and other African American attorneys who practice here in Bay County and even beyond that, he was just a wonderful person," said 14th Circuit Judge, Elijah Smiley.
Bowers served in the U.S. Army from 1951-to-1954. He earned a law degree from Howard University in 1962, returned to the Panhandle to become the first African American attorney to practice law in Bay County.
"He was definitely a trail blazer, he was a good Samaritan, and indeed was what I believed to be a bridge builder," said Smiley.
Bowers also worked in the local civil rights movement. That work was not popular with some, who attempted to fire bomb Bowers car while he was attending civil rights meetings in Jackson County. Not only was he a prominent attorney in the area, but he was also the first black member of the Bay County school board, and sat on the board of trustees at Gulf Coast State College.
"He was a very dedicated person, especially to his community. He did a lot of work free of charge and he was just outstanding and I love him as if he was my brother," said Ted's cousin, Thomas Bowers.
Bowers paved the way for African American men and women that came after him. He has been referred to as a brilliant thinker and a great asset to Bay County and he will be greatly missed.
"I'm not accepting it because I still want him to come home," said Bowers' Widow, Estrella Bowers. Ted Bowers' funeral will be held at 11 AM Saturday at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist church in Panama City.
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