For William Bowman, his mark will be left for a long time in Bowman County as well as the state of North Dakota.
That was the consensus of his friends and others who knew him.
Over the years, the Baker-born former county commissioner and state senator was able to be a strong voice at every level and was remembered well at his funeral services Saturday in Bowman’s United Methodist Church.
Bowman passed away Aug. 15 at the Hill Top Comfort Home in Killdeer at the age of 74.
According to long-time friend and fellow state legislator Rich Wardner, the church was overflowing and many had to be moved outside of the sanctuary for the service.
“It was very fitting,” he said Monday.
Wardner attended the services along with representative Keith Kempenich of District 39 and former legislator David Drovdal of Arnegard.
“It was a good turnout,” Wardner said, adding that Cal Klewin was there. “He’s always fun to listen to. Cal told a couple of things (about Bowman) that were kind of funny.”
Klewin was the Executive Director of the Bowman County Development Corporation for 15 plus years before moving to become the Executive Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Expressway in Williston.
“They all had kind of the same theme – Bill was very conservative and he wanted to do things right,” Wardner recalled. “He (Bowman) was not somebody to fib a little bit or tell a little white lie. Bill would never do that. He was always a straight shooter.
“That is what the message was when Cal was speaking,” Wardner said.
At the church, there could have been more people in the sanctuary, but they were moved off to the side because of the COVID-19 spacing guidelines. “If everybody had been in the church, it would have been full. They had them (the people) spread out in the Methodist Church where they have their receptions,” Wardner explained. “There were quite a few people out there. If it had just been in the sanctuary, it would have been packed.”
The pastor at the church told the people attending the services of how appreciative Bowman had been. “That’s Bill. Bill was always appreciative. He always thanked people for doing little things. That was the way he was.
“He once told somebody who asked if he was going to have a kidney transplant. He said no.... I am not going to take a kidney at my stage of life away from some young person that is healthy and needs it. In other words, he was a very unselfish guy.”
That is just the way Bowman was, the current majority leader of the state senate explained. “He thought about others before he thought about himself.”
Looking at the state legislature, Wardner said he wished there more like Bowman serving in Bismarck. “He was so honest. As conservative as he was, he still was compassionate. He was very frugal, but yet a caring person.”
Bowman served in the U.S.Army and served in the state senate from 1991 to 2018. The services also included military honor guard.
According to Bowman County Auditor Sandy Tivis, Bowman left his mark in many ways and many places. “Bill was a strong motivator in promoting the quality of life for all residents of Bowman County.
“He was actively involved in the beautification of the area parks within the county, the swimming pool enhancements and was also an advocate for the Bowman County Fairgrounds in the development of the “state of art” facilities.
“Bill had a vision to provide opportunities for future generations and left Bowman County a stronger more progressive community,” she said.
For Pine Abrahamson, Bowman made a big difference for the residents of the county, even when Abrahamson disagreed with him while a county commissioner.
“He watched out for all the citizens. He was very good to Bowman County.
“He always worked to come out with the best solution. He would always make us think. If he’d seen some things wrong, he was always very vocal.
“He would stand up for the big guy as well as stand up for the little guy,” Abrahamson added.
“He was a good man and I enjoyed the time I spent with him,” the commissioner said.