Circuit Judge Eddie Bowen died February 7

February 9, 2021

Circuit Judge Eddie H. Bowen of Raleigh died Sunday, Feb. 7, of complications from COVID-19. He was 71.

Joel Smith

Visitation is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Smith County Courthouse in Raleigh. A memorial ceremony will begin at noon. Burial will be in Merchant Cemetery. Tutor Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Three weeks ago, Judge Bowen tested positive for COVID-19 and received treatment. He was hospitalized a week ago at Magee General Hospital. He died late Sunday afternoon.

Judge Bowen’s family issued this statement: “We are humbled by how many people have reached out during our time of sorrow. We see how many lives that he touched throughout his life. Dad was as tenacious of a provider and father as he was an attorney. His love for his family and his friends was true until the moment his life transcended to a higher purpose. Words cannot express how much we love and miss him, but words are not supposed to – that is why we make memories.”

Judge Bowen was the senior judge of the two-judge district. Circuit Judge Stanley Sorey said, “He was a great judge to work with, always helpful and encouraging. He will definitely be missed.”

Judge Bowen served as Circuit Judge of the 13th Judicial District for more than 10 years. Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Judge Bowen, and he was sworn in for the first time on Sept. 20, 2010. The 13th Judicial District includes Covington, Jasper, Simpson and Smith counties.

Judge Bowen served as district attorney for 11 years before he was appointed to the bench. He was in private law practice for 19 years.

District Attorney Matthew Sullivan said, “Judge Bowen was my friend and a mentor. He believed in young people, and he helped many young lawyers get their start in the legal world, including me. For that, I am forever grateful. Beyond the courtroom, I loved his stories, hearing him play the guitar, and the many hunting, fishing, and motorcycle trips we took together. The written tales of his character would make a book worth reading.”

Former Representative Bo Eaton of Taylorsville, a longtime friend, said that his father, attorney Howard Eaton, hired Bowen soon after Bowen graduated from law school. Recalling his last conversation with Judge Bowen, Eaton said that the judge talked about the time that Howard Eaton spent teaching him as a young lawyer about the practice of law, and expressed his gratitude.

Howard Eaton and Bowen became law partners in the firm of Eaton and Bowen in Taylorsville. Bowen opened an office for the firm in Raleigh, then went out on his own.

“My daddy really liked his humor and intellect. He was a great student of the law and a dear friend,” Eaton said. “He was man of compassion and mercy. Jurisprudence and justice were his life as a professional, but he also had a forgiving, merciful heart too. He had a sense of humor about life.”

Gary King of Taylorsville worked as an assistant district attorney when Bowen was District Attorney. “I enjoyed almost five years working with him,” King said. “Eddie spoke his mind. You pretty well knew where Eddie stood on things,” he said.

“He liked to hunt and fish. He had a little camp outside town,” King said. Judge Bowen went into quarantine at his cabin after he tested positive for COVID-19, before his condition worsened. He died two weeks before his birthday. He would have turned 72 on Feb. 21.

Judge Bowen grew up in the Cohay Community of Smith County, the son of Howard and Eunice Bowen. He had eight siblings – four sisters and four brothers. He was the second oldest.

He joined the Mississippi National Guard in 1967, went to Officer’s Candidate School, and served active duty as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He continued as a reservist until 1984, leaving the service at the rank of major.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from Mississippi State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

He is survived by his wife Sherrie Bowen; sons Jonas Bowen and Caleb Bowen; grandson Gabriel Bowen; sisters Ruth Hayes, Abby Crosby and Mary Alice Nanny; and brothers Carlie Bowen, David Bowen, Timothy Bowen and Jonathan Bowen. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Mattie Crisler.

Judge Bowen is the third Circuit Judge of the 13th Judicial District to die in office in recent years. Judge Bowen was appointed to the vacancy created by the death of Circuit Judge Robert G. Evans on July 13, 2010. Judge Evans was appointed by Gov. Ray Mabus to a vacancy after the death of Circuit Judge Luther David Pittman on Dec. 2, 1990.