J. Raymond Bowers, cheese merchant

December 3, 2012

J. Raymond Bowers, 78, an educator who for the last 36 years of his life owned and operated a cheese and dairy products stand at the Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, died Nov. 14 at his home in Falls Church.

His son, Michael R. Bowers, said he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Bowers succeeded his father, Harris R. Bowers, in the management and operation of the family business, Bowers Fancy Dairy Products, a fixture at the Eastern Market since 1964. The business featured an assortment of up to 200 domestic and foreign cheeses.

Unlike his father, Raymond Bowers did not regularly work the stand’s sales counter, but he did supervise the wholesale cheese purchases and management of the business.

Joseph Raymond Bowers was born in Falls Church and graduated in 1953 from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. From 1954 to 1957, he served in the Air Force, including a tour as an intelligence specialist in Libya.

He was a 1961 economics graduate of what is now Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va. He briefly taught public school in Prince William County and Fairfax County before joining his father in business in 1964.

He continued his career as a educator by teaching GED classes and counseling incarcerated youths at the D.C. correctional facility at Lorton. He also worked in the office of the educational adviser at the engineering school at Fort Belvoir and, from 1970 to 1991, was a training and development officer with the Secret Service.

Mr. Bowers was a member of the parish council at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill.

His first wife, Catherine Janet Knode, whom he married in 1958, died in 1989. His second marriage, to Louise Porter, ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Michael R. Bowers of Ashburn and Kris Bowers Haefer of Memphis; and five grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes