Otis R. Bowen, a long-time U.S. politician and former Indiana governor, died on May 4 in a nursing home in Donaldson, Indiana at the age of 95. Bowen served two terms as governor of Indiana and later went on to serve as the head of the US Department of Heath and Human Services in 1985.
Born and raised in Rochester, Indiana, Bowen grew up in a deeply religious household and went on to graduate Indiana University in 1939 and again in 1942 with a medical degree. He worked at a hospital as an intern in South Bend until 1943 when he joined the Medical Corps of the United States Army.
Bowen served in World War II and ran a medical practice for over 30 years after returning. He turned to politics while running his practice in his home town and began as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives.
Otis Ray Bowen, a Republican, had two stints as a member of the House that lasted over 14 years. He was the Speaker of the House during the last five years from 1967 to 1972.
Bowen was elected governor of Indiana in 1972 and re-elected in 1976. He remained in politics and was appointed Secretary of Heath and Human Services by President Ronald Regan before retiring in 1989.
Otis Bowen is now dead at 95 as Indiana governor Mike Pence (R) announced the news on Sunday in a statement.
According to the Washington Post, Bowen always kept his medical licenses up-to-date while serving as a politician and carried a prescription pad at all times. Bowen would occasionally issue prescriptions to his aids or any journalists who were sick on the job.
He was known as a quiet man at times but also a dedicated American who fought for lowering tax rates and providing people with better medical insurance. Bowen delivered over 3,000 babies as a doctor and treated thousands of patients.
Otis R. Bowen is survived by his third-wife Carol Hahn Mikesell, four children from his first marriage, and six stepchildren.
[Image via Derek Jensen]