Richard Bowman, 71; Transportation Executive

Friday, June 1, 2007

Richard Emerson Bowman, 71, a senior executive with the Transportation Department, died April 30 of cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He lived in Laurel.

In the late 1950s, Mr. Bowman joined International Voluntary Service, a private organization that offered humanitarian aid overseas, and spent two years in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. He primarily assisted in agricultural projects.

After returning to the United States, he was among the first employees of the Peace Corps, joining in 1961. For two years, he spoke at college campuses and gave television and radio interviews throughout the country recruiting for the Peace Corps. He served with the organization in Pakistan from 1963 to 1966.

In Washington, he served in the office of the secretary of the Transportation Department. After a short stint with the Office of Economic Opportunity in Philadelphia, he rejoined the Transportation Department in the late 1960s and assisted in the early development of Amtrak.

He held the positions of maritime administrator, associate administrator for maritime aids and associate administrator for national security, and he played a key role in administering the nation's maritime industry. When he retired in 1995, he was associate administrator of the Maritime Administration.

He received the secretary's Meritorious Achievement Award in 1979 and was named a Presidential Distinguished Executive in the government's senior executive service in 1987.

In retirement, Mr. Bowman was administrator of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. He helped found the church school in 1999. He retired from the church in 2005.

He was born in Upper Darby, Pa., and was a graduate of Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pa. Mr. Bowman, who stood 6 feet 6 inches tall, was an excellent athlete and played semiprofessional basketball while attending college. He also enjoyed fishing.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Janet Randall Bowman of Laurel; four children, Randall Bowman of Vienna, Md., Richard A. Bowman of Coventry, Conn., Rebecca Dacey of Laurel and Ryan Bowman of Ijamsville; 10 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

-- Matt Schudel

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