WHEN many Ipswich people hear the name Bowie, their first thoughts aren't of an English pop star, or a 19th century American frontier pioneer.
Instead, they remember a man who was known in the area as a larrikin, a leader and a mentor of men. Bill Bowtell was a man who gave to his community well beyond his retirement years.
Known to his mates as Bowie, he was considered a man who gave guidance, support and was always a tireless worker.
He and his wife Peg lived in the Redbank area for 64 years; they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary last month.
Bill was an active member of many civic and neighbourhood organisations.
The 88-year-old helped establish the Redbank Auxiliary Fire Brigade and Redbank Ambulance Service building.
He was a member of the Australian Labor Party, which he joined in 1957, and would enthusiastically campaign for politicians he believed in.
He was involved in the pre-selection of Bill Hayden when he was endorsed for the federal seat of Oxley before the 1961 election.
In his younger days, Bill enlisted in the Army and served in New Guinea, Borneo and the Philippines. In light of that, he was an active member of the Redbank RSL sub branch and made sure local families remembered the sacrifices made by those who fought for the nation. The grandfather of nine was involved with the Goodna and District Rugby League Football Club as both a player and life member.
For all his contributions he was awarded the Lions Trophy, the Order of Australia Medal and was a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow recipient.
He died peacefully in the company of his family last month after suffering two strokes within six months.
Ipswich councillor Paul Tully spoke at his funeral service and described Bill as a person "absolutely dedicated to the community he lived in".
"It's rare these days to have a person so embedded in all facets of the community like Bill was," he said. "More than 500 people attended his service which was a real testament to his character and involvement."
His son Bill Bowtell Jr said his father was a man strong on mateship who was always true to his word.
A minute's silence was observed at the start of Goodna Rugby League's football game last weekend in memory of Bill.
The bridge across the new Ipswich Motorway, once known as the "bridge to nowhere" will be named the "Bill and Peg Bowtell Bridge." His ashes will be scattered at the Goodna Rugby League Football field.
He is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
Celebration of life
William Hurtle DeVere Bowtell (OAM) 1925 - 2014
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