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Lucius Arthur Bowser
(1927 - 2012)

Lucius Arthur Bowser, 85, of South Orange, N.J., passed away peacefully Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012, at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Lucius was born on July 8, 1927, in East Orange, to Edward T. Bowser Sr. and Louise Pateman Bowser. Growing up in East Orange, he attended Elmwood Elementary School and Vernon L. Davey Jr. High School, and was a 1945 graduate of East Orange High School.

For years, he served as president of the EOHS Class of 1945 Reunion Committee. He enlisted in the segregated U.S. Navy in 1946 and served aboard the U.S.S. Adirondack (AGC-15) until he was honorably discharged in 1947.

Whenever possible, Lucius stood with his fellow veterans in front of the War Memorial at City Hall Plaza on Memorial Days and on Veterans' Day. The above photo (Lucius is in the wheelchair, far right) was taken on his last Memorial day in 2012, when he served as the Community Grand Marshall.

Prior to his enlistment, he worked for the Ambulance Service of East Orange. Lucius attended Rutgers University School of Pharmacy in Newark, N.J. After his graduation, he worked as a pharmacist throughout Essex and Union counties, and opened Bowser's Pharmacy in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1958. He subsequently served as chief of the drug, device and cosmetic program of the New Jersey State Department of Health and, subsequently, in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, until his retirement. In 1982, he received a master's of public health from Columbia University's School of Public Health. At the time of his death, he was a member of the South Orange Board of Health. A member of numerous professional associations, he was a past president of the Union County Pharmaceutical Society and the New Jersey Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association. He founded New Jersey's statewide system of Poison Control Centers. In 1975, he was honored as alumnus of the year by the Rutgers University School of Pharmacy Alumni Association.


Goldie Burbage, current (2012) president of the Historical Society of East Orange, and Lucius Bowser, President Emeritus.

A respected historian and genealogist by training, he founded the Historical Society of East Orange in 1990 and served as its first president. After serving many years as president, he stepped down because of health reasons, and promptly took up the post of secretary treasurer of the society.

In an awards ceremony of the Historical Society of East Orange (10/17/2008), his brother Robert L. Bowser, then Mayor of East Orange, issued a proclamation proclaiming Lucius President Emeritus of the Historical Society.

He was a member of the New Jersey and national chapters of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogy Societies. An author and lecturer, he regularly performed genealogical research for clients throughout the United States.

Lucius leaves behind his wife of 62 years, Bernice Steele Bowser; his son, Alan, an attorney in Maryland; his daughter, Carmen, a commercial banker in New York; and his brothers, Robert, mayor of the City of East Orange, and Hamilton, of Annapolis, Md. His brother, Edward T. Jr., predeceased him.

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