IN MEMORIAM: Bill Bowes, 89, Survived WWII Kamikaze Attack

IN MEMORIAM: Bill Bowes, 89,

Survived WWII Kamikaze Attack

An image from the kamikaze attack on the USS Santee, which Bill Bowes remembered all his days.
An image from the kamikaze attack on the USS Santee, which Bill Bowes remembered all his days.
William Bowes
William M.
Bowes

COOPERSTOWN – William Morris Bowes, 89, who witnessed a kamikaze attack on the USS Santee during World War II, died Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 3, 2015, at Fulton Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Gloversville.

Born May 12, 1925, in Albany, he was the son of Thomas C. and Margaret (Dilts) Bowes.

Raised in Oneonta, he attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and graduated from Oneonta High School.  On May 8, 1943, he entered the Navy, serving his country during World War II as a radioman.  He was stationed onboard the aircraft-carrier USS Santee and was involved in many naval battles.

Bill could still recall with clarity Oct. 25, 1944, the day a kamikaze plane crashed into her flight deck, immediately followed by a torpedo fired from a Japanese submarine.  “I saw that torpedo come right towards us and explode.”  He was honorably discharged on Feb. 13, 1946.  Though Bill was proud of his military service, his greatest wish was for world peace.

He attended St. Bernadine of Siena College in Loudonville, graduating in 1951 with a degree in sociology.

From 1951 to 1956, he was employed as a resident inspector of Naval Material at the Scintilla Magneto Bendix Aviation Corp. in Sidney, today’s Amphenol.  He then went to work for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Corp. as a supervisor for Quality Assurance, and travelled extensively throughout the United States, the Middle East and Europe.

He retired in 1987 and lived in Leesburg, Fla.  In August 2005, Bill moved to Cooperstown and joined his sister, Alberta, the retired Bassett Hospital director of nursing, at the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home.  She passed away last June 14.

A communicant of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Catholic Church, Bill was also a life member of the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579 and the Sgt. Walter P. Eggleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 7128, as well as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge No. 1312 in Oneonta.

A funeral mass is planned at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at St. Mary’s, with Father John P. Rosson, pastor, officiating.  Burial with military honors will be in the spring at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Emmons, where Bill will be laid to rest near his parents and sister.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home.