James Jefferson Bowers

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James Jefferson Bowers

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James Jefferson Bowers
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James Jefferson Bowers, 79, of Jacksonville, Fla., passed away March 14, 2020 after a lengthy battle with numerous health issues.

Known to many as Jim and as Jimmy to close family, he was born in St. Petersburg, Fla. in 1941. His family moved to Jacksonville in the mid-1940s before eventually settling in Fernandina Beach, Fla., where his parents operated the Blue Seas Restaurant.

In 1959, he graduated from Fernandina Beach High School, where he was class president and co-captain of the football team. After a brief stint at Florida State University, he joined the United States Army and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery Branch and assigned to the famed 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) at Fort Benning, Ga.

It was at Fort Benning where he met and wed the love of his life, Lana McCranie of Dawson, Ga.

He served with distinction in the Army for 20 years, including two tours of combat duty in Vietnam. He took part in the 1965 battles of LZ X-Ray and LZ Albany that were featured in the movie We Were Soldiers and played a crucial role in the 1970 siege of Fire Base Illingworth. He was awarded the Bronze Star twice for his actions in Vietnam, received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat, awarded 13 Air Medals for air combat operations, and earned numerous other awards and decorations.

Other duty assignments took him to Oklahoma, Germany, and Turkey. While in the latter, he was entrusted with command of a NATO nuclear missile detachment. He retired from active duty in 1980 with the rank of major.

Upon retirement, he settled in Jacksonville and pursued a second career in the “new” field of personal computers, becoming the first to bring the Apple Mac to the Jacksonville market in 1984. He later wrote custom software applications for business before declining health led to his second retirement in 2014.

He was very active with the Arlington Optimist Club of Jacksonville for many years, served as its president for several terms, and received numerous awards for his outstanding volunteer efforts. He was also very active in the 77th Field Artillery Association and enjoyed organizing many of the association’s reunions and veteran outreach efforts.

He loved his dogs, was passionate about Florida State Seminole football, enjoyed boating immensely, pursued extensive family genealogy research, and always had some type of DIY project in progress.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jefferson T. Bowers and Lillian Marshall Bowers, both of Fernandina Beach; and his sister, Shirley Ann Croft of Brewton, Ala.

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Lana Bowers of Jacksonville; children, Lt. Col. Jeff Bowers (Magdalena) of Memphis, Tenn. and Jana Hickman of Jacksonville; brother, David (Susan) Bowers of Orlando, Fla.; grandchildren, Zackary Hickman, Keira Bowers, Jamie Bowers, J.T. Boers, and Theresa Bowers; and nieces and nephews, Cleve McRee, Laurie Martin, Lance Croft, Hilary Crandall, and Ian Bowers.

A graveside service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 19, 2020 at the Jacksonville National Cemetery, where military honors will be rendered. The family will receive friends 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at the funeral home, located at 1500 Main St. in Atlantic Beach.

Visit www.ferreirafuneralservices.com to sign the family’s guest book.

Todd Ferreira Funeral Services