Bates Barrington Bowers, Sr.

August 17, 1920 ~ March 29, 2016 (age 95)


At age 95, Bates Barrington Bowers, Sr. of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, passed away peacefully on March 29, 2016, after a brief illness.  Bates was born in Memphis, TN on August 17, 1920 to LeRoy and Corrie Whittington Bowers, who were both from the Atlanta area.  He attended Atlanta public schools as a child and graduated from Commercial High, where he was elected President of the Student Body.  Music was one of his many interests inspiring him to sing in the Glee Club and to play the clarinet in the high school band.  Bates attended the University of GA in 1940 and he went to Jones Law School in Montgomery, AL in 1957.

He was the devoted husband of his "forever sweetheart", Eleanor Veazey Bowers, of Greensboro, GA.  Bates and Eleanor were married for 69 years before her passing in May of 2008.  They met at Retail Credit Company, now Equifax, when they were fellow-employees and after their first date on the day they met, their romance flourished and they were later married on April 29, 1939.  Bates has resided in Palm Beach Gardens, FL with his daughter, Becky, since 2001.  Prior residences included Dunwoody, Atlanta, and Savannah, GA, Montgomery and Dothan, Alabama, and briefly of Tampa, FL and Chattanooga, Tennessee.  

Bates had an extended successful career in the field of Traffic and Shipping working for the Central of GA Railroad, the Alabama Public Service Commission, the Savannah Sugar Refinery, and retiring in Atlanta as Chairman of the Southern Freight Association in 1985.  He was admitted to practice before the Interstate Commerce Commission and Federal Maritime Commission.  Bates was a member of the American Society of Traffic and Transportation and the Association of ICC Practitioners.  He served as a past President of the Southern Shipper and Motor Carrier Council and a past General Chairman of the Southeast Shippers Advisory Board.  He was a past Chairman, member of the Board of Governors, and a past President of the Southern Traffic League.  He was a member of the National Industrial Traffic League, the National Freight Traffic Association and was a past President of the Savannah Traffic Club.  As a member of the Savannah Airport Commission and Chairman of the Chamber's Aviation Committee, Bates was present when Jet Service was inaugurated at Savannah Airport as the first scheduled commercial jet(DC-9) arrived from Atlanta.  He was a member and the song leader for the downtown Atlanta Rotary Club for 14 years and served as the song leader for the 1982 District 690 Conference.  

Being blessed with an incredible tenor singing voice, Bates enjoyed performing.  He received early voice training in Atlanta as a student of the late Eugenio Prosperoni, a former member of the world-renowned LaScala Opera Company of Milan, Italy.  His musical activities throughout his life included performances in special club musicals, operas, church choirs and with symphonies.  His weekends as a young married man were often spent as a soloist singing for church weddings and Jewish Synagogue Choirs, or giving voice lessons to young aspiring singers.  Bates also used his beautiful voice to serve the Lord and sing praise to Him as he directed church choirs over the years.  

Bates and wife, Eleanor, had a great fondness for travel and often times children and grandchildren were invited to join them in their travels.  Travels together throughout their marriage have included numerous business trips as well as pleasure trips traveling coast to coast, visiting neighboring countries, and cruising in the Caribbean.  Bates, along with Eleanor, were members of the "Georgia Freewheelers" enjoying the company and traveling with other recreational vehicle enthusiasts.  Their favorite travel in the Fall of each year was their weekend motorhome trips to Athens, GA to enjoy a UGA game as avid Bulldog Fans!

He is predeceased by his son Bates B. Bowers, Jr.(wife Martha) of Griffin, GA.  He is survived by his children, son Robert W. Bowers ( wife Kitty) of Suwanee, GA; daughter Rebecca “Becky” Caldwell, widow of late husband Mike, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL; grandchildren Bates B. Bowers, III (wife Tammy) of Johns Creek, GA; Brandon Louis Bowers of Suwanee, GA; Blake Alford Bowers (wife Kim) of Cumming, GA; Christie Caldwell Hurd (husband Rick) of Abingdon, VA; Kelly Jeane Caldwell of Anderson, IN; and Robert Cameron "Cam" Caldwell (wife Gina) of Nashville, TN; along with five great grandchildren,  Brin Bowers, Troy Pennington, Ainsley Pennington, Lane Caldwell, and Eli Caldwell.  He is also survived by his 98 year old sister, Dorothy B. Buchheit of Jax Beach, FL;  many cousins, nieces, and nephews.  

Bates, affectionately known as "PawPaw" to family and close friends, was loved by so many.  He was admired for his many talents and for his keen, intelligent mind.  He enjoyed life, people, and family.  His devotion and love for his family was exemplified in his caring, giving, kind, and thoughtful ways.  Wonderful memories of the Southern Gentleman he was will live on forever in the hearts of family and friends.  

A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, 2016 at Greensboro City Cemetery, Memorial Drive, Greensboro, GA. In lieu of flowers, contributions are requested to be made to Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Avenue, WPB, FL 33407.  McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register.



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