Will T. Bowlin formerly of Williamsburg, Kentucky, age 88, died Friday, February 17, 2012 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. Will T. was born on November 2, 1923 in Pruden, Tennessee, the son of the late James Virgil Bowlin and Cansada (Rose) Bowlin. Will T. joined the National Guard Reserves in 1940 at the age of sixteen and was called up for active duty in the United States Army after Pearl Harbor. He served in WWII Pacific Theater as Staff Sgt. From 1941-1945; also being stationed at Camp Shelby, MS; Camp Carrabell, FL; Camp Livingston, LA; Waialua, Oahu, HI; Buna, New Guinea; and Leyte, Luzon Island, Philippines. He was awarded several medals, including the Bronze Medal Star when PFC for Meritorious Achievement in ground combat in the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations. During WWII, Will T. lost a good deal of his hearing while manning an 81mm muzzle loading mortar and a bazooka, and he returned home with malaria.
He worked briefly in the coal mines on Black Mountain, spent a year as a ranch hand in Wyoming, and then worked in Detroit at the Chrysler/Pontiac automobile factories. Will T. became a Christian in Detroit, then met and married his beloved Mary on December 17, 1950. Their first born daughter, Deborah Eileen, was born in Detroit; their second daughter, Pamela Joy, was born in Cincinnati, where Will T. was a brakeman on the B&O railroad for eight years. Through his growth as a Christian at First Baptist Church in Mason, Ohio, Will T. made a decision to surrender the rest of his life to full-time service and sacrifice to God. He moved his family back to Kentucky and attained his B.A. in History and Religion at Campbellsville Baptist College. He was a minister of the Gospel since 1960, pastoring and preaching at churches throughout Kentucky including Columbia/Greensburg, Elizabethtown, Germantown, Hopkinsville, Pineville, Corbin, and throughout the South Union and Mt. Zion Baptist Associations.
Will T. later completed his Master’s in History Degree at Union College, taught school then substituted in Bell, Christian, Bracken, Mason, Laurel, and Whitley Counties in Kentucky, while continuing preach. He was a good storyteller with a wonderful memory for details. He was patriotic, politically involved, and sang with gusto. He played the harmonica, was an avid reader of books, and loved animals. Will T. had a great strength of character and overcame many hardships in life giving God all the glory. His favorite scriptures were Romans 8:28, “And we know according to His purpose”. Will T. loved life and he loved his Lord Jesus, whom he looked forward to seeing “face to face”. In his later years, he passionately spoke of eternity as “our glorious future”.
Survivors include daughters, Deborah (Clint) Griffith of Lexington, Kentucky and Pamela Joy Bowlin of Waynesville, North Carolina; grandchildren, Chris (Theresa) Owens, Joshua(Kristen) Owens, Seth (Brooke) Yarborough, and Lydia (Kyle) Henderson; three great-grandchildren, Alyssa Rose Yarborough, Jaron Seth Yarborough and Paige Aileen Owens; sisters, Lillian Stinchcomb and Lana Adams; sisters-in-laws, Betty Jo Patrick, Fannie Owens, Bobbie Clay, Goldie Carpenter, Velma Bowlin, Mary Caroline Bowlin and Margaret Bowlin, brother-in-laws, Damon Helton, Lonnie White, Bob Adams and Everett Owens . Will T. also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, and cousins, other family and friends. Preceding him in death were his father and mother; his wife, Mary Virginia Patrick Bowlin; brothers, James , Harold , Xerxes, Mart, and Wadely; sisters, Marie Robinson (Will T’s twin), Joyce Helton and Juanita White; brothers-in-laws, Josh Sharp, Hudson Clay, Elvin Patrick, Frank Siler, Barney Stinchcomb, Paul Carpenter, Joe Patrick and Ben Patrick; five sister-in-laws, Edna Bowlin, Harriett Bowlin, Emma Sharp, Lois Patrick and Callie Patrick.
Funeral services will be conducted at the Croley Funeral Home by Rev. Bill Wright on 1: 00 P.M. Thursday, February 23, 2012. Burial will follow at the Highland Cemetery, Whitley County, Williamsburg, Kentucky. Visitation will be at the Croley Funeral Home from 11:00 A.M. until the funeral hour on Thursday, February 23, 2012.
Condolences may be made to the family at www.croleyfuneralhome.com
Croley Funeral Home of Williamsburg, Kentucky in charge of all arrangements, Jerry W. Croley and J. Andrew Croley, Directors.