The accolades and tributes are rightfully pouring in for Otis "Doc" Bowen. The former legislator, governor and member of Ronald Reagan's Cabinet passed away over the weekend at the age of 95.
I was a student during Bowen's two terms as governor (1973-81). For several of those years, our basketball coach at East Central High School (southeastern Indiana, near Cincinnati) was Rick Bowen, the governor's son. Duties in Indianapolis and around the state certainly kept the state's executive leader busy, but I do recall a few visits he was able to make to St. Leon.
I'm not exaggerating when I say those were very, very special nights at the old high school gym. As a member of the basketball program (statistics and sports writing as my lack of speed and jumping ability had caught up with me by that time), I did have the opportunity to speak briefly with the governor. He was, of course, humble and wanted to talk about his son and our team on the court.
I've read more than a few stories about Bowen, his accomplishments and his classic small-town Hoosier style. He was an outstanding ambassador for our state, no matter what role he was serving. Our best wishes to his family and friends.