Funeral services for Dr. Leroy Bowman, who died Feb. 26, 2014, will be conducted at 3 p.m. Saturday at Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church with the Rev. George Windley Jr. officiating, assisted by Drs. James Blassingame, Marion H. Newton, J. Charles Levy and William S. Randolph. Interment with military rites will follow in Walker Cemetery.
Born Nov. 2, 1921, he was a son of the late Brooks Bowman and the Rev. Benjamin F. and Rena Smith Bowman Canty Sr. He attended the local public schools and was a graduate of the Morris College High School Class of 1940. In September 1941, he entered the U.S. Army and was ultimately selected for training at the Tuskegee Army Air School to become a fighter pilot. He graduated and was commissioned as a Tuskegee Airman on March 25, 1943, joining an elite group of 1,000 black military aviators who served with distinction during World War II.
Following the war, he returned to Sumter and completed his college education at Morris College. After a brief civilian career as an educator, he returned to the Army and served honorably for 26 years. Upon retirement, he completed his masters of education in elementary science and administration at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and pursued a brilliant career in education as a teacher, principal and superintendent in the Long Island New York School District. In 2006, President George W. Bush and the United States Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal and Tuskegee University awarded him an honorary doctorate degree of public service.
In 1986, he re-established residence in Sumter and with First Baptist Missionary Church, where he served as a deacon, Sunday school superintendent, and as an adult education teacher.
Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Mildred W. Bowman; two sons, James (Kathi) Bowman and George (Yolanda) Bowman; a brother, Ralph W. (Toye) Canty Sr.; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Mr. Bowman will lie in repose between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. today in the parlor at Job’s Mortuary, 312 S. Main St., and an hour before the worship on Saturday in the sanctuary at Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made to the American Cancer Society.
Job’s Mortuary Inc., 312 S. Main St., Sumter, is in charge of arrangements.
Online memorials may be sent to the family at email@example.com or visit us on the web at www.jobsmortuary.net.
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