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J. Clarence Bowers

J. Clarence Bowers, 102, formerly of Ronks, PA, passed away on July 20, 2016, at Landis Homes in Lititz, PA. He lived at home until age 101, and was a guest at Landis since March 2015.


Clarence was born in Lancaster, PA, to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob R. Bowers (Mamie F. Getz). He graduated from Lancaster Boys’ School in 1933, and served with the U.S. Navy amphibious unit as a 1st class petty officer during World War II. In 1941, he married Helen Murry Smith, who passed away in 2002 after 60 years of marriage.


Clarence worked at several jobs, including manufacturing and sales, prior to finding his niche in banking. He worked in banking for 39 years with the former Lancaster County National Bank which, eight name changes later, is now a part of Wells Fargo Bank. His career included management positions in retail banking and commercial lending, and many of the loans he managed supported the significant growth of Lancaster County, known by tourists as Pennsylvania Dutch Country.


Clarence was a lifelong member of Grace Evangelical Church in Lancaster, where he served as treasurer for 45 years. He was an accomplished clarinetist, and played with the New Holland Band for 64 years, many as first chair. The band is believed to be the oldest surviving community band in the country, and his service with the band included a tour of France, where they played under the Eiffel Tower. He also held membership and leadership positions in the Christian Businessman’s Committee of Lancaster and the International Christian Leadership Group. Clarence was an avid “gentleman farmer” and raised a wide variety of crops, mostly for family and friends’ consumption. He was well known for his delicious corn roasts, where he would cook over 100 ears of corn at one roast. 


Clarence is survived by his children, Beverly Ann Bowers of Ronks, James Robert and wife, Patricia, of Wayne, PA; his grandson, Neal Bowers and wife, Vicky, of Ft. Myers, FL; his great-grandson, Connor M. Bowers, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, and four siblings, Lester Bowers, Ruth Hank, Esther Umble and Edna Rathkey.


A memorial service celebrating his life was held on July 25, 2016, at Grace Evangelical Church.

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