The Bowers would like to thank you for visiting this memorial website.
We hope you will leave a story here (see below) about how Ron cracked you up, helped you out, drove you nuts, helped you find peace, encouraged you to grow with his serious side — or to loosen up with his charming playfulness. Whether you are a close friend, a family member, a foreign acquaintance from his many travels, a fan or fellow flyer, we would love it if you’d share a Ron story here. We will publish selections from this page in the printed program for Ron’s memorial service on December 28, 2020 (time/location TBD), and we will read the juiciest ones aloud there, so please don’t hold back. ; )
Thank you so much for contributing your memories!
36 thoughts on “add your Ron remembrance story here”
It has been said that the two things that will last for eternity are the Word of God and the souls of humans.
I appreciated hearing Ron share the essence of his life from the Word of God.
And the foremost memories I have of Ron are his warmth, his dry humor, and his unhurried visits with folks on the campus of our church. One in particular of his taking a seat on the steps next to a child to just enjoy that little person. He listened and encouraged well.
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Ron Bower was a gentleman, a generous man and above all a strong Christian who loved people. He personally flew Crystal and me to Tyler for Crystal to attend a Christian summer camp. He baptized Crystal in Lake Travis among other deeds that earned our admiration many times over. Ron was a very special man. It was a pleasure to know him.
Don Harris & family
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I’m sorry to hear about Ron. He brokered the deal on my helicopter. I enjoyed working with him and Shannon. When we were “shopping” for a helicopter, we made a trip to the state of Virginia, to look at a 206 used in a coal mining business. Along the way, we stopped at a convenience store for a bathroom break. When Ron came out of the bathroom, he said, “I just bought some chewing gum, but boy, that gum taste like rubber!” I laughed ’till I cried. After he and Shannon inspected that helicopter, he went over everything they found wrong. He then looked at me and said, “This ain’t your helicopter.” But we eventually found one on the next trip. On the round the world JetRanger, he had a decal on the door that said “co-pilot.” When people would ask him who was the pilot, he used that question as an opportunity to share his faith, and to explain that God was the pilot. I remember he and I talking about the bumper sticker you occasionally see that says “God is my copilot.” Ron didn’t agree with that statement.
He was a great pilot, great family man, and he made my buying experience as easy and stress-free as possible.
May his lovely wife and family live by Grace and in Peace,
Steve Allen & Family
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Ron and I first met at the 1994 NBAA International Operations Conference: he to learn as much as he could about international operations; me to cover the event for Aviation International News. After Ron gave a short talk about his upcoming solo round-the-world flight in a Bell 206L-1, I introduced myself and asked him some questions for my article. We quickly surmised that we were probably the only helicopter pilots at the conference. We ended up chatting until everyone else had left the room and the cleaning staff had arrived.
As it turned out, I was able to meet up with Ron in Mesa, Arizona, as he made his way east for the last legs of his first record journey. The privilege of flying with him—he as the sole pilot and me as a passenger—remains one of the highlights of my life as a pilot and a writer.
From then on, we met at other aviation events and always at Heli-Expo, even if just for a few minutes. The last time I saw him was during Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas, where I was able to have dinner with Ron and his wife Peggy. We had a wonderfully good time, reminiscing and telling stories—all true, some embellished—until the restaurant closed.
Three years earlier, in 2014, I was working on the second edition of my book, “Learning To Fly Helicopters.” I had asked Ron if I could use his “Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Pilots” in the final chapter, which I had named “Postflight.” He approved immediately; and I was very grateful to include his “truisms.” I like to use relevant quotes at the beginning of chapters. For “Postflight,” I used this Bible verse (1:1-2, New International Version). “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
I am honored to have known Ron and to have shared a mutual bond of friendship with him for so many years. I imagine Ron now, his beautiful spirit hovering over lands and waters, sending us his wonderful words of wisdom for life, family and flying. Thank you, Ron.
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Ron loved the Lord and the Word of God. There are so many remembrances of Ron and his beautiful family that just pop to mind. Ron took me under his wing and was one of my mentors as a young early thirties Elder at Grace Covenant. He taught by word, deed, and love. He definitely was bigger than life and at the same time humble. He offered to fly me home from a Port Aransas Elders retreat if Katy went into labor with our number 2 daughter so I wouldn’t miss it. That was very thoughtful of him but no I didn’t go. I remember the night at the old Austin Mueller airport when he had a sending off gathering as he was heading off on his first Round the World solo speed trip. He taught on biblical parenting. We knew lots about parenting and then we had children. He was firm but with good humor. He would walk into a room and make everything better.
I’m sure you’ve heard the words from our Lord, “Well done my good and faithful servant. “ You’ve left a legacy as well! Matt
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Ron and I shared the same homeroom in Bellaire HS class of 59. Mrs. Seally was our homeroom teacher. Ron was and all around guy and ran with the good crowd of which I was excluded. I spent most of my time in the principle’s office.The lord has blessed Ron with real wings and doesn’t need a parachute. May he fly high and watch over us.
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Ron and I first met at Bellaire High School in the late 50’s, a very light-hearted friendship. We continued to Texas A&M, sharing our miseries as freshmen and later, as upperclassmen, the enjoyment of our privileges. Following graduation, we lost track of one another and then reconnected many years later, first through the Bellaire web page and then through class reunions of both Bellaire and A&M. It was as if the interim years had never occurred.
His loss is duly marked as a major one of our generation. I will miss his friendship but his memory will live in my heart.
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Dear Shannon Peggy and family
What a devastating email to receive. We loved your Dad, he was a star.
I will never forget the first time we met. Sat in a pre HAI, MD Helicopters distributors meeting in 1999 in Arizona bored to tears with yet another presentation about to start……. This very tall, articulate and funny Texan with huge Charisma strolled to the front of the room and had us transfixed for a good hour. This pilot had circumnavigated the globe twice and was truly inspirational. His motivational mantra “ You plan your work and work your plan” has stuck and is a “memory beacon” of Ron.
I know you know all this,
but some two years later thanks to his talk and huge amounts of help and support for us (Jamie and I) I was myself airborne at night, in cloud over the North Sea wondering what the hell I was doing there.
It took two attempts but finally we broke his record and he was so magnamamous and enthusiastic for us. He was a true gentleman. On the second and successful attempt, he and Peggy drove some 9 hours to spend just a few short minutes before I lifted at stupid o’clock in the morning to give support and wish me luck. What am amazing gesture.
Knowing the rigours of the journey and the confines of the tIny cockpit for 12 hours a day for several weeks he presented me with a memory foam cushion!! It made the rest of the journey almost bearable and to this day it is sat on my office chair and used daily.
Subsequently we met with you guys year after year at HAI to exchanged laughs and stories…..good time’s. A very eventful such event happened around ten years ago when we tried to get the Bell dealership. Ron new we had a great chance and some interesting intel on the then current incumbent and made the unforgettable gesture of “pulling the pin out of a grenade and Tossing it into the room” it stuck and we also use that gesture to this day.
We didn’t get the dealership but we had fun trying.
Ron Bower was a gentleman in every respect and Shannon you are very much his son.
We will miss him greatly, that smile, that knowing look, that great sense of presence….. But we are so very glad to have met him, known him and have been able to call him friend.
Our thoughts are with you all. Rest in peace Ron.
From all your friends at Eastern Atlantic.
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I met your Dad shortly after retiring from the Air Force in 1976. I went from flying jets in the Air Force to flying as a charter pilot at Tim’s Air Park just north of Austin, Texas. Your dad was part owner of a Cessna 206 with the Tail Number 34JC. I learned when I met your dad that the 34JC were identifiers saying Three for Jesus Christ. I always found him to be a man of honor, intellect and faith. Was impressed when he left IBM to join with Bob White here at Austin Robert Mueller and for his unusual exploits with a helicopter. Was not surprised that he flew solo around the world in one. He was a wonderful person that I will never forget and grieve at hearing of his illness and passing. My blessings, thoughts and prayers to his family.
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Sorry to hear this news, I met Ron here in the UK in the early 90’s when I sold him a Jet Ranger. I was lucky enough to fly with him several times and learned much in doing so.
He was a larger than life character and a gentleman to do business with. RIP
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When I was 10 or so, Ron flew his helicopter out to our dove lease. He buzzed over our heads then went and landed in the field. He invited me to fly back to Austin with him which I happily accepted. It’s an experience I’ll never forget and has left me with an enthusiasm for helicopters ever since.
I was a friend of Ron and Shannon. Ron invited me to fly with him as inactive copilot in June 1994 on his Eastward flight-around-the-world for a segment from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Savannah, GA. I would like to send my condolences to Peggy and Shannon but do not have their email address. Can you help?
Regards, Ed Hirsch, email@example.com.
Looking forward to seeing you on the 28th with your family at Grace
Will and I met Ron in the early 1970s through the weekly Bible study which ultimately became our church home, Grace Covenant Church. Our teacher was Dick Flaten and he lived in Dallas. As a part of Ron’s ministry, he would fly to Dallas each week, pick up Dick for our study, and return him home afterwards. Ron repeated this ministry weekly for the duration of the study.
In addition to being one of the founders of Grace Covenant, Ron was an excellent Bible teacher himself. One topic I remember well was that “our Christianity shouldn’t be just on Sunday, but taken to the workplace and every area of our lives!!” Ron used a huge “flip chart” which was one of his trademarks and a very effective teaching tool.
One December evening while our children were quite young, our doorbell rang unexpectedly. Upon opening the door, we were surprised to see a very large Santa. Somewhat taken back, we cautiously allowed him to come in…the children standing there gaping with wide eyes! Of course, it turned out to be Ron. He had used the costume in a work related opportunity, and was having so much fun that he decided to expand his audience.
Ron’s birthday (Dec. 28) was the same day as our wedding anniversary, so it was easy for me to remember. I began to give him cards on his birthday—Not the warm fuzzy kind, but the most humorous one I could find. As the years went by, I continued the birthday card tradition trying to best the one given previously. Throughout the year, I would keep an eye out for “Ron’s card” and find myself still continuing to do that today!!
Another special memory took place in the late 1990s. Ron learned that I was training to run my first marathon, and he really gave me significant encouragement along the way. On race day I was nearing the finish line but realized I still had a long way to go…6 miles!! I thought to myself, “now I’ve still got the Cap10 to run.” Whew! Not long after that, to my great surprise, Ron appeared out of the crowd with a huge smile on his face, clapping and w/encouraging words. That was just what I needed to inspire me to the finish line!!!
Later Ron even surprised me further with a bouquet of flowers! Now that is a special friend!!
Will and I met Ron through the weekly Bible study that ultimately became Grace Covenant Church in the early 70’s. The teacher was Dick Flaten and he lived in Dallas. As a part of Ron’s ministry, he would fly in his helicopter to Dallas each week, pick up Dick, fly back to Austin, and return him home afterwards. Ron repeated this ministry through out the weeks of our study.
In addition to being one of the founders of Grace Covenant, Ron was an excellent Bible teacher. One lesson that I remember very well was that “our Christianity shouldn’t be just on Sunday, but taken to the workplace and every area of our lives.” Ron used a huge flip chart which was one of his trademarks and a very effective teaching tool.
One December evening while our children were quite young, our doorbell rang unexpectedly . Upon opening the door, we were surprised to see a very large Santa standing there! Somewhat baffled we cautiously allowed him to enter our home…the children standing there w/wide eyes! Of course, it turned out to be Ron! He had used the costume in a work related situation, and was having so much fun that he decided to expand his audience!!
Somewhere along the way in our friendship, I learned that Ron’s birthday (Dec. 28) was the same date as our wedding anniversary, so that was easy to remember. I began to give him birthday cards—not the warm fuzzy kind, but the most humorous one I could find. As the years went by, I continued the birthday card tradition trying to best the one given previously. Throughout the year, I would keep an eye out for “Ron’s card” and I find myself continuing to do just that still today!
Another special memory took place in the late l990’s. Ron learned that I was training to run a marathon, and he really gave me significant encouragement along the way. On race day, I was nearing the finish but still had 6 miles or so to go. I said to myself “ok, so now you still have the Cap10 distance to go.” Suddenly, out of the crowd bursts Ron with a huge grin on his face, clapping and yelling encouraging words to me! It was just the perfect thing to give me a boost, and help me reach the finish line!! Later, he even surprised me again with a bouquet of flowers! Now, that is a SPECIAL FRIEND!!!
I am honored to have shared in Ron Bower’s life as a young deacon and elder at Grace Covenant Church. He was very personal in each of our meetings as I was mentored and motivated to apply the Bible to my life as he had done. My family was blessed by his example as we sought God’s direction in service.
Dear Peggy & family,
It was a privilege and an honor to know Ron and to serve with him on the Grace Covenant Church elder board. He was a Godly man with much wisdom and unique insights into numerous aspects of life as a parent, businessman, and shepherd and possessed an always memorable way of sharing those insights. Additionally, Ron and I shared a love of flying and a special bond because of our both having flown combat missions in Southeast Asia. Having had several opportunities to fly with him, I felt truly blessed to observe first-hand the extraordinary skill he possessed as a helicopter pilot…and he made it look so easy! His passing away is a huge loss for all of us who knew him and we grieve with you, even as we rejoice.
In an increasingly mobile world, the idea of having the same neighbor for forty years is a stunning occurrence. On reflection, I do not even think we ever had a cross word. The property line between the two homes blurred as kids, dogs, and cats, as well as, bikes and footballs poured energetically over the two yards. We, the Bowers and the Waldens, were those neighbors. Most of those years, Peggy and I were consumed with raising families while Ron and my husband were consumed with building careers; however, by 2010 the earth had shifted beneath each of us…….Peggy and Ron were living a life of quiet retirement, and I had become a widow.
As I relate some vignettes about Ron after I was widowed, I would like to think my words would sound eloquent and express vividly moving events. But I am going to tell you about trash bins and newspapers and other rather mundane things that reveal a part of the Ron I came to know and love. After my husband’s death, Ron bought a five hundred watt security light and mounted it on the side of their house next to my driveway. It automatically came on at dusk and went off at dawn. According to Peggy, he called it “Shirley’s light” because he did not want me coming home at night in an area not illuminated with light. Peggy said Ron would not allow that light ever to be turned off.
About this same time, two toddler grandsons were living with me. Ron discreetly took charge of my trash bins moving them back and forth on trash days before I could get to them. When I graciously said to him that I could do that, he adamantly responded that I should take care of the little boys, and he would take care of the trash. From that day forward, as long as I lived in that house, I never moved a trash bin. I had received my orders.
Then my newspaper started appearing not just on my front porch but propped against the front door. Rain, sun, storm, freezing temperatures…..I had my newspaper without having to leave the comfort of my home.
I could go on at length and talk about dead car batteries, house bound lizards, workmen interviews, and more……but I have said enough. What I really want to say is that these small, relatively insignificant anecdotes taken together, reveal Ron’s heart……heart meaning the ruling center of this person……..of all the operations of his life……of who Ron Bower was. Ron had a servant’s heart, as such, he put others needs ahead of himself. In seeing my needs, he protectively cared for me. He humbly lived out God’s commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
My first meeting with Ron was when I reluctantly attended a bible study at Ron and Peggy’s home. Across the room that night was a beautiful girl that has now been my wife of 40 years! So thank you Ron and Peggy.I was a wayward college kid in need of help, and it came in the form of Ron and Peggy. I lost my dad when I was young, so I really looked for guidance. For all of us that knew Ron, he had a presence, and a look about him. Authority figure, wise, someone to get advice from, and it wasn’t just a look. Ron selflessly helped me get through my commercial pilot rating, as well as my flight instructor rating. At the same time I was struggling to finish my college degree, and seriously considered dropping out. “I’ll go back later ,and finish” I told him. Well we all know how that usually turns out. So, Ron told me “if you stay in I’ll help you get your ratings”. “if you drop out you’re on your own” Tough love? Maybe, but exactly what I needed. As a result I credit Ron with me graduating from UT.
A particular sermon I remember Ron giving at Grace when I was only in my early 20’s compared our lives here on earth as vapor rising from a teapot on the stove. That image has always stuck with me. Words from a very wise man.
Ron was my mentor,and inspiration to pursue my long career in aviation.
GOD you got a good one.
Brenda and I have many fond memories of Ron and his family. At the top of the list is a home Bible study that Ron taught on the book of Galatians. As new Christians, it was the foundation for teaching us that “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11. Eager to share this news, we invited Brenda’s brother, Steve, to the study. It just so happened that he was living with us. Steve was thinking about quitting college to get his pilot’s license. When we told him we were attending a home Bible study and the teacher was a man named Ron Bower, a pilot with his own plane, Steve’s interest was piqued enough that he decided to go with us. Well, as God would have it, not only did Steve meet and respect Ron, but he met a young lady named Jeannie. Of course, they fell in love and have been married for 40 years. Ron took Steve under his wing, so to speak, which lead to Steve finishing college and having a successful career as a pilot—eventually, as a captain with Delta Airlines. And just to show God’s interweaving of lives, Steve learned that the plane he had been renting to get his pilots license had the call numbers, 34JC, meaning three for Jesus Christ, and it belonged to Ron and his partners.
Other things about Ron that I will never forget:
When Brenda and I taught at Allandale Christian school, Ron and Peggy would drop off a significant check, an unexpected Christmas bonus that blessed our lives and our children each Christmas.
When I started anew career in marketing and Ron, with Austin Jet, they were one of our first clients. One day he invited me to lunch and said he’d pick me up at my office. Well he did, in a helicopter. We flew out to the Oasis, buzzed it, landed in a vacant lot, had lunch, and flew back. It was a thrill.
I will also never forget the Bible study on Ecclesiastes Ron hosted once a week at Austin Jet. Little did I know it at the time, but the study prepared me for my mother’s death and gave me the strength to perform her funeral ceremony.
My family and I are eternally grateful for placing and Ron and his family in our lives. And we are overflowing with joy, knowing that he is with if Father in Heaven and at peace.
In 1987 I had just gotten married. My new wife (Cindy) and I were convinced we would live happily ever after in Washington State. I was selling a JetRanger for a fruit company I was flying for, when a tall dark hair mustached Texan came to Yakima to purchase it. I was impressed with his approach and we became instant friends. This was the first time I met Ron who would eventually become a major influence in my life.
Ron tried to recruit me with the idea that I should move to Austin and join him selling helicopters. For Cindy it was an easy decision… “Hell no” I am not leaving Washington State and I am certainly not moving to Texas. Its flat, full of redneck cowboys and HOT. Ron was not easily dissuaded and didn’t give up. For the next 6 months he and I worked on Cindy. He sent her local magazines and newspapers and eventually convinced her to come to Austin for an exploratory visit. Ron rolled out the red carpet and used all his persuasive powers, of which he had a well-polished arsenal. Ultimately, Cindy finally conceded and agreed to move provided she could return to Washington every year for the month of August. Ron and I figured she might do that for a year or two until she settled in. Thirty-two years later she still hasn’t seen Texas in August.
I will forever be grateful to Ron. He was a true mentor to me and opened a whole new world of opportunities. Under his guidance and leadership, together with Sandra Escobar “Radar”, we built an inspired team that completed over 500 helicopter transactions, established a renowned maintenance/completion facility and supported Ron’s two famous record setting around-the-world flights in 1994 and 1996.
I always thought Ron was at his best when standing between an audience and a blackboard. He was truly a gifted speaker and teacher. His sense of humor and storytelling could make everyone around him feel engaged and inspired. He was admired and respected by many and will certainly be missed by us all.
…”Sandra, pull up a screen!”
Ron was my 1st cousin and he was a role model to me. Ron was encouraging to me as a kid. He loved people and family and Texas A&M. I admired Ron and his devotion to God & Country. He blessed my life.
We were fortunate to meet Ron several years back, after Sharron joined the Anderson family. We wish we had known him longer! He had such a great, mischievous sense of humor and good-natured take on life. We spent one Thanksgiving with Ron, Peggy and the family in Las Vegas where he showed up with an authentic Texas smoked turkey (served cold, our 1st!) and a strong pool game. I spent many hours playing with him and learning all the trick shots. Sparky joined in too! During his later years, we got to visit Ron and sing impromptu Christmas carols with the community. Ron sang the loudest and with the most joy! He was a warm, loving man and both Cath and I were honored to know him. We send Peggy, Sharron, Byron and Sparky our love and sympathies. – Nick & Cath Anderson
We visited Grace Covenant Church in 1980, not long after Grace moved from Continental Cars to the current location. We had heard Grace was a great place for parents with young children. After our first visit we knew that this was where God was leading a young couple with two young children at the time. As we got involved at Grace we soon became friends with Ron and Peggy Bower. Over the next 25 years we would get to work with Ron and Peggy in many roles. We remember when Ron lead a group of teenagers on a ski trip where our daughter enjoyed learning to ski under the watchful eye of Ron Bower. We can still remember the video that Ron made of her going down a slope shouting encouragement, “Looking good! Looking good!” Then she fell. Ron kept the camera rolling, but went silent as he checked on her, only to hear the relief and joy in his caring voice that she was uninjured. What a loving, caring and compassionate man.
We remember Ron’s two round the world helicopter trips that he involved all of us at Grace in sending him off and welcoming him home. I remember riding with Ron and others in his helicopter to an Elder’s retreat, right above the tree tops. On our return flight, Ron flew us over the skyline of Austin. That was a special adventure I’ll never forget. Ron treated everyone he met like they were the most important people in the world.
Ron, thank you for being the man God created you to be. We thank God for putting you and Peggy into our lives. Your godly impact on our lives, our children’s lives and the lives of many countless others will continue to ripple for many years to come. We look forward to seeing you again because of what Jesus did for you and us. Maranatha!
Coleman and Dorothy Glass
I met Ron when he taught Sunday school for the singles group at Grace Covenant Church. We became friends as a result of those classes and we often bumped into each other in the small foyer and the back of the church after the services.
After my wife and I bought a small weekend home in Smithville, Texas, we met one of our neighbors, Lt. Col. Amore Victor “Vic” Juliano, who had served with the Army in WWII. Vic had been an Artillery Forward Observer for the 26th Infantry Division during the fight at the Battle of the Bulge. Later he also was one of the first helicopter pilots to serve in the Army towards the later days of WWII. Vic had an impressive military career; one that I thought Ron would like to hear. I managed to arrange a meeting for these two flying legends to meet each other. We met at Vic’s house and then drove to a local eating place to have lunch and talk. It was fun to watch them talk. They went down their military rabbit trails and I just sat back and listened. Towards the end of their meeting it, was hard to determine who was more impressed. Ron was terribly impressed with Vic, and Vic was equally impressed by Ron. It was a good meeting. I didn’t know if they’d ever meet again or not. At one point I thought how great it would be if Ron would give Vic a ride in his helicopter. I figured that Ron got these request often and I didn’t want to be one of those guys who begged for a ride, not that he wouldn’t have done it. Anyway, that thought drifted through my mind for a few weeks, then one day I got an unexpected call from Ron, “Hey Blair, you think Vic might want to take a helicopter ride sometime?” I was stunned. It was like he’d been reading my mind. Of course he would, so we quickly made plans. Ron wanted it all to be a surprise! I met Ron at the small airport on the outskirts of Smithville and then we drove back to see Vic. All I’d told Vic at this point was that Ron was coming out to visit again. After we all met, Ron said, “Vic, on our way in, I saw a helicopter at the airport that looks like the ones that I have flown before, you want to go out and take a look?” Vic was all in, so we drove the short distance out there to get a look. When we got out, Ron walked up to the aircraft and started pointing out technical things to Vic. When Ron started to open the engine door and then the cockpit door to look in, Vic started to get nervous.
“Ron,” he said cautiously, “You ought not to be messing with someone else’s aircraft.” At that point Ron held back a grin and said,
“You’re right Vic, I shouldn’t do that, but I happen to know who owns this aircraft.” Ron paused for a moment before he said, “I own it! So Vic…(he announced) you want to go for a ride?”
The look in Vic’s eyes and the grin across his face said it all. Ron pulled out a small step ladder and helped Vic into the pilot seat. Ron got in the other seat and I climbed into the back. We lifted off and Ron flew us over Vic’s little town and then headed towards the country.
When we got over the countryside, Ron asked, “Vic? Do you still know how to fly?” Vic indicated he thought that it might come back to him. “Ok, Vic, take the stick.” Ron said, and with that Vic carefully took hold of the stick, positioned is feet on the control pedals, took control of the helicopter and flew it. Ron pull his hands back from the controls and watched Vic fly the helicopter. We flew for a few uneventful minutes before Vic said, “I’ve had enough, take it back Ron,” and with that Ron took control of the aircraft and headed back to the airport.
After we landed, Ron said his goodbyes to Vic and flew back to Austin and I drove Vic back to his home. I don’t believe they ever saw each other again. I understand from Vic’s family that he talked about his adventure that day for weeks. A year or so later, Vic died, he was 88 years old.
I can’t help but to think that upon Ron’s entry into Heaven, Vic was there to greet his old flying friend.
What do you remember about a person?
I have precious memories of Ron. First, and more important, was his personal walk with the Lord and knowledge of Him. Several qualities stand out. One quality was his command presence. By that I mean when he entered a room his presence was evident. He was a leader and commander. His walk was memorable as he lived up to the phrase, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine”. AND SHINE HE DID!
One personal incident to illustrate this was some 40 years ago our family fell on hard times financially. As a school teacher with a houseful of four children and a wife to support, Ron and Peggy stepped up to help. They learned of our special need and provided funds sufficient enough to provide a Christian school environment for our son who had a learning disability. Their generousity made a big impact on his life and will always be remembered. Ron was a giver and provider.
In Galatians 1:1-5 we are told we are here to glorify God. Ron knew the Word and more importantly, he lived it!
It was May 1983, and I was on the tail end of finishing up my schooling at ACC. The professor in my computer class told me about 3 guys out at the Mueller airport looking for an Admin Assistant. Little did I know at the time that I would meet and work for 3 of the most wonderful, caring, generous, successful, family driven, Godly men that would “shape” me during my 20 year career with Austin Jet. I will always hold a special place for these men in my heart: Kirk Hays, Ron Bower, Robert J. White (or Quail Bird, as Ron would call Robert) The “three amigos.”
Although I worked for the 3 when I was hired, shortly thereafter I was mainly working for Ron – I guess you could say he “snatched me up” to be his assistant and his “right hand.” His nickname for me was “radar” as I’d be one step ahead of him with whatever he needed done. I remember his favorite lunch that I would get for him at Quality Seafood up the block: sea leg salad, an order of hush puppies and the red sauce; he literally could eat this several times a week.
Ron was a strong leader, mentor, teacher. He was ex-military and had the qualities of such. Very strict, straight forward, expected the best. At first, he would come off a little “rough” but once you got to know him, he was a real big teddy bear. He mellowed through the years, especially after I married and began having children.
“Single” Sandra was at work early until real late, available 24/7. “Sandra can you do this?” “Radar can you do that?” “Sure, Ron, no problem.” Now “Mom” Sandra, that was a little different story. I had a baby, I had home obligations. I witnessed a change in Ron as he adjusted to my new “availability.” He was always understanding of doctor appointments, sick babies, etc. He would always ask me how my family was. He genuinely cared about the people that worked with him and for him.
Whether it was us working on the database programming, filling up Ron’s entire office with taped up pages of the flow charts; or working on a sales contract to send internationally via telex machine and wrestling with the paper tape; or me being the translator and flying with Ron into Mexico in the helicopters to perform demos for potential customers; or in 1994 when Ron made his little trip around the world me working nights to be available for him and his only contact with the outside world while he was in the remote areas all alone; or after a sale Ron running around the entire office, avionics shop and hangar with a red hat that had a siren and red blinking lights on it. All these wonderful memories, I will forever cherish.
I can go on and on with the many stories I have about Ron, but instead, I would like to wrap up and tell Peggy, Sharon, and Shannon – Ron was the best. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and honor to say a few words. God bless you and my prayers are with you.
And to Ron, thank you for your service to your country. Thank you for being the kind, funny, spirited person you were. I love you and Happy Heavenly birthday. This isn’t Goodbye, it’s “I’ll see you later.”
Dec 28, 2020
Hi, I’m Harrison Smith.
After Denise and I married some 40 years ago, we went to a Bible Study at the Bowers’ home on Far West. After one of the lessons Ron took me into the den and presented the 7 Spiritual Laws tract. I became a born again Christian which set the stage for my marriage with Denise and for my future children. Thank you Ron for your Christian leadership and witness. You were a decipher.
What is a mentor?
According to the dictionary, a mentor is “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.”
Ron was a mentor, but much more than a teacher. He was able to impart wisdom to me and many others about helicopter flying, business, and spiritual matters. It’s surprising how much overlap there is among these different things, and Ron used that overlap in his mentoring.
Over hundreds of hours and thousands of miles, seated side by side with another guy in a helicopter, you get to talk a lot. Ron and I did talk and debate about these important things, and many more.
As a mentor, Ron –
– had an obvious gift for teaching others
– was easygoing and patient with people, even at times when there was disagreement or stress
– had a sense of humor that was likely to come out in some unusual ways
Ron was genuinely interested in people, and always wanted to invest in them and see them come to know the Lord.
He was a blessing in my life.
Ron, my friend, I look forward to someday resuming several of those deep conversations we never seemed to finish. See you then.
Kirk Hays, December 28, 2020
My comments today are under the heading of “Isn’t that just like Ron?” Ron loved Peggy and loved to surprise her. So, for her fortieth birthday he wanted have a surprise party. Not on the day of her birthday but a day or two ahead so she wouldn’t expect anything. Well, the day he chose was her bread-baking day. He called Marion Mcllhaney and me to help get some things together and he would leave a key under the mat. When Marion and I got together we realized it was bread-baking day! We decided to go a little earlier then we had expected. When Peggy baked bread, she didn’t make just one loaf she used every mixing bowl, mixing spoon, and baking pan she owned. When we got to the house there they were, piled high in the sink. At the appointed time friends began arriving and soon Peggy came bursting through the door not with a look of surprise and excitement BUT a look of horror – the kitchen!. She walked through the living room to put her purse down, glanced in the kitchen, did a double take, turned around smiling and quickly looked around for some idea of who cleaned up the kitchen. Marion and I were standing together and we just waved, smiled and winked at her. The party was a huge success, But, wasn’t it just like Ron to not know it was baking day!
Jerry and I have ten grandchildren. The four oldest boys, now 30 to 38, all knew Ron. They remember being at the hanger the day he left on his first Around the World Flight and his return. I called them to tell them of Ron’s passing. When I talked to Blake Nichols (for those who knew us in the old days, he is the middle child of our daughter Julie.) Blake is married and is daddy to four-year-old and one-year-old little girls. There was a pause in our conversation. Then Blake said, “Oh, those young ones in Heaven are in for a lot of fun with the arrival of Mr. Bower.” I asked why and Blake said, “Nanee, they don’t know they have quarters in their ears!” He continued remembering special things about Ron. He said, “I could hardly wait for church to get over because I could go out and find Mr. Bower. He always acted like he was looking just for me. He always made me feel like we were best friends. And, he was always able to find a quarter in my ear.” Isn’t that just like Ron?
·Dick Geoffroy comments:
* First to be perfectly honest it is somewhat overwhelming to read the comments from so many influential people from around the world who knew and respected Ron.
·* In 1980 we moved to Austin and joined Grace. Being new to the city and the church. Ron was one of those men who when he spoke everyone would listen. He had a huge presence at Grace, he would do opening and closing in prayers, he conducting meaningful communion services and at times he would preach.
* Our Sr Pastor at the time Dick Flaten, in a sermon, made a point one time to let everyone know, with all due respect to attorneys, if you have any issues in business, family, marriage, raising kids etc. please contact one of our elders for council BEFORE you take any legal action. They are here to serve you not just run the church activities.
* Well if any of you were around here in the 80s if you put on a suit and tie with a business plan (not necessarily a strategy just an idea) some banks would give you all the money you thought you needed. WELL I had plenty of ideas and suits. So I found myself way in over my head and was in trouble.
* Why not give Pastor Flatens idea a try and I called Ron for help. Within an hour he called back and said you want to talk about it? Yes sir do you have any time available? He said can you come to my office Thursday around 10:00 ? Yes sir see you then. Upon arrival he say’s ok lets go to lunch – Q ever been in one of these before? You mean a helicopter? Heck no! Well you are now!
* He took me over the city and I saw it with new eyes… we didn’t talk much he just went all over the place showing me a different perspective of Austin. Then the kicker was he flew out over lake Travis and circled back to the Oasis and put the nose down so we could literally see inside the seating area, Q They have room where do you want to sit?
* Ron listened to my situation and didn’t ask many questions mainly listened. After an hour or so he said is that it? Any issues with the kids or wife? Just business issues? Yes that’s it just business. OK give me a couple of day’s and we will work it out, don’t worry and don’t do anything with the banks or any attorneys without talking to me first.
* Two day’s later he had me connected with an attorney who he picked and completely briefed on the situation, so my expenses were at a minimum, and it all worked out without going to court.
Thank you for letting us know about Ron’s memorial. Reid and I enjoyed it so much and have been talking about Ron’s legacy ever since attending the beautiful service you planned. It was touching to see your grandchildren honor their granddad with such moving life lessons he’d taught them. As I listened to the tributes, I was reminded of my own memories of Ron. He always made sure to be the elder who served our little family at the church-wide Thanksgiving dinner whenever he noticed I was there alone with the kids because Reid was away at drill. I remembered how Taylor’s only question to Ron at AWANA, after his World Record presentation, was “how did you go to the bathroom?” Ron, without condescending, made Taylor feel so insightful by saying that was always the first question after every one of his presentations, no matter the age of the audience. I recalled sitting in your living room as young marrieds, when Ron talked about his anti-slacking challenge to Shannon as a teen, quoting Proverbs 6:10-11: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come on you like a robber, and need like a bandit. How often I drew on Ron’s words when we had teenage sons of our own.
I know you were proud to sit with Shannon and Sharon, who have done so well in life and come alongside you during this difficult time, and with their children, who have grown to reflect the legacy you and Ron built for them. I hope their families are sweet comfort to you when proper condolences are precluded because of the pandemic. I’m sorry we couldn’t spend more time with you Monday or even offer you a hug. I’m sure this plague robbed you and Ron of so much – visits during quarantine, the many military traditions he rightfully deserved at his memorial, and the comforting acts of kindness you should expect from your church family. It’s a difficult time to live and a difficult time to die. But, we know Ron is living like never before, having heard “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” We look forward to that day when Ron greets us all on the other side. We’re thankful for that assurance. We’re thankful that you and Ron poured into your little Bible study so long ago, which grew to become the church where Reid and I met, where we were married, raised our family, and where our own daughter was married five years ago. Thank you for your indelible mark on so many lives.
Ron was truly bigger than life itself, and a national treasure. We were honored to know him and continue to be grateful to you both.
In the summer of 1966, Phil and I moved into the duplex we had built on West 32nd Street, and advertised the front apartment for rent. The first interested party introduced himself, with military bearing, as Joe Ronald Bower, which accounts for my calling him “Joe” for many years.
Joe and wife Peggy did rent our front apartment, and thus began our decades-long friendship. They came to Austin for him to attend the School of Business Administration at UT., and Peggy taught school to financially support that venture. Studies were pushed aside occasionally for learning to play “42” so we could do that together. Even then, Ron called me “Lady Jane,” which made me feel special.
After grad school, Ron and Peggy introduced the idea of joining with another couple they knew, Joe and Marion McIlhaney, in having a weekly Bible Study, with the guys alternating leadership. We all invited other friends, and many of these studies met in our living room. After a year of meeting, we all realized the desire to get deeper into the Word of God. Dick Flaten was invited to come down from Dallas Theological Seminary on Monday nights, ringing together the seeds which God planted to grow into Grace Covenant Church.
Besides the significant Bible Study, God used Ron in my life in other ways I will always remember. When our son, Dale, started kindergarten, I was anxious to go back to UT to work on a degree in Library Science. That path was interrupted when Ron told me that UT was offering four computer programming classes, and he thought I would be good at programming. After Taking those classes, and after 30 years working at UT as a computer programmer, I can say he was right.
In the mid to late 1960’s, my husband and several friends had become low-time private pilots. After some time of merely being a passenger,I decided I wanted to learn to fly, and I approached Ron about teaching me. A license was never my goal, but learning to land a plane myself was a confidence I sought. After about 10 hours of instruction, Ron verified that I was capable of that. I did it! I felt a lot safer after having done it..
I thank the Lord that the intersection of Phil’s and my lives with Ron and Peggy was in His plan.
Marion and I first met Ron in absenting. He was flying helicopters in Viet Nam. But his parents and we went to the same small church in Houston, and they had become our dear friends. I was in my Ob/Gyn residence, and Ron’s parents would take Marion and our three little daughters to church when I was at the hospital. During this time, Ron would send pictures from Viet Nam, and audio tapes to explain the pictures. Ron’s folks would have groups over to their house to see the pictures, and hear Ron speak.
In 1968, we moved to Austin to start practice. I first met Ron in person in St. David’s hospital, where he was receiving blood to offset a bleeding ulcer. He told me that as a result of this medical issue, the National Guard would not want him to fly their helicopters anymore. He could not give up flying, and he already had an instructor rating, so he was going to teach people to fly airplanes as an avocation. Did I want to be his first student? I had wanted to fly since high school. I was thrilled! Ron instructed me through private, commercial, and instrument ratings. Pat Beckham, who had been a friend since medical school, was also a low-time pilot, and the three of us bought our first Cherokee-6 together. Ron kept our airplane “healthy,” and was strict about keeping Pat’s and my flying “healthy,” also. We continued this partnership through 1995. As Ron and I sat in the cockpit of an airplane, or friendship grew to be one of the closest either of us had.
Ron, Peggy, Marion, and I became part of a small Bible Study group. This study grew into Grace Covenant Church. Ron and I were both on the Elder Board. Through those years and hundreds of meetings, our friendship became more mature. We were not just friends, but brothers in Christ. If I spoke of the multiple other experiences we had together, including the four of us as couples, this would be much longer than you could tolerate. I do think that I can speak for both of us when I say that “as iron sharpens iron,” Ron and I were instrumental in helping each other grow as men, as husbands, as parents, and as followers of Christ. And we had lots of fun in the process.
I hate death. I hate it because of the loss of my wife. I hate it because of the loss of Ron. But just as I am thankful for the years I had with my wonderful wife, so I am thankful for the friendship with one of the best friends I have ever had or ever will have.
Most tales of life and adventure with Ron Bower would require two hours, not two minutes.
Let me use my precious two minutes to acclaim and honor the Ron Bower I knew.
Ron was a driven man; driven to be the best.
It made no difference whether it was ping pong, volley ball, forty-two, or flying.
He wanted to be the best, and generally was the best.
He also wanted to be the best businessman, and your best friend.
I learned about all those from personal experience.
But I think more than anything else, he wanted to be the best teacher.
He taught everything from the Bible to instrument flight.
He made every talk and every flight an opportunity to teach.
And he taught everything well.
He was really driven to be the best teacher.
I do not believe in accidents.
When I started thinking about what to say about Ron in these two minutes, my Bible literally fell open, and my attention was drawn to Luke 6:40.
It is not likely that many people have memorized that verse
These are the words of Jesus, as recorded by Luke, in Chapter 6, Verse 40.
“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
We could not have had a better teacher.
In April of 2003, I was a freshly-minted helicopter pilot, having passed my checkride in February. I had read of Ron’s adventures and hoped to meet him someday.
My wife and I were traveling to Chicago out of Austin, and as I was boarding the plane I saw a fellow with a Bell Helicopter hat on and I felt sure that was Ron Bower. Once seated, I wrote a note to the flight attendant and asked if she wouldn’t mind taking it to him.
A few minutes later she returned with an autographed 8×10 saying “Good flying! Welcome to the club!” And he sent a note to chat once we arrived in Chicago.
When we deplaned, we talked for almost 15 minutes, and I got a picture with him. It was great!
As fate would have it, 16-17 years later, my stepson (a freshly minted private pilot) was managing a Galaxy Cafe in Austin. He came home one day and told me about a fellow who came in the restaurant wearing a helicopter jacket or hat. Said his name was Ron Bower. He told Ron his stepdad was a helicopter pilot also, and that he was a new private pilot.
Fly high Ron…may you soar ridgelines and cast the shadow of your blades over the endless wheat fields forever and ever.