Bowman, Bobby Neil, Sr. [Bob] (1936–2013)

By: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: April 28, 2019

Bobby Neil “Bob” Bowman, Sr., East Texas businessman, community leader, journalist, publisher, and prolific historian, was born in Anderson County, Texas, on June 3, 1936. He was the son of Elvis Weldon and Annie Mae (Milligan) Bowman. He graduated from Diboll High School in Angelina County in 1954 and from Tyler Junior College in 1956.

Bowman began his career as a newspaperman and worked for the Diboll Free Press, the Tyler Courier-Times Telegraph, the Lufkin Daily News, and the Houston Chronicle. In 1966 he joined Southland Paper Mills, Inc., as its first public relations manager. He also worked in public relations for the St. Regis Paper Company at Lufkin and the Delta Drilling Company of Tyler in 1982. He returned to Lufkin in 1985 and established his own public relations firm with his wife Doris Fay Shaddock Bowman, whom he married in 1958. They had two sons, Neil Jr. and Jimmy Bowman.

Beginning in the 1960s Bob and Doris Bowman, working as a team, produced more than forty-five books. In 1988 they established a regional book publisher, Best of East Texas Publishers, after they realized they could make more money by publishing their own books and other people’s books as well. She conducted much of the research, he did the writing, and she edited and designed the books. At the same time, they also cooperated as owners of the Bob Bowman and Associates public relations firm

Bowman's books won numerous awards, including an award from the Texas Historical Commission in 1976 for Land of the Little Angel: A History of Angelina County, Texas, as the best history book published in Texas that year. His books also won two “Book of the Year” awards by the East Texas Historical Association. His weekly column, “Bob Bowman’s East Texas,” began in 1999 and appeared in more than eighty regional newspapers.

Bowman held memberships in the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Sesquicentennial Commission (1986), and Texas Capital Centennial Commission (1988). He served as president of the East Texas Historical Association. He and his wife Doris were also the only husband and wife to chair the Texas Committee for the Humanities.

Bowman provided community leadership in Lufkin in ways too numerous to list in full. He served on the Lufkin City Council for fifteen years, chaired the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, was a member and chair of the board of trustees for Angelina College, and chaired the Angelina and Neches River Authority and the Angelina County Historical Commission. He also served as secretary for the Deep East Texas Development Association, the Pineywoods Economic Partnership, and the Texas Forest Industries Council. He was a founder of the Pineywoods Foundation of Lufkin, which serves East Texas with charitable contributions, and an organizer of the Ottis Lock Endowment that funds scholarly awards by the East Texas Historical Association.

Bob Bowman died of pneumonia in a Lufkin hospital on July 13, 2013. A memorial service took place at Calvary Baptist Church, and he was buried at the Whitehouse Cemetery in Lufkin. The Bob Bowman Journalism Scholarship was established in his honor at Angelina College in Lufkin, and the family requested that memorial donations be made to that fund.

Jo Lee Ferguson, “Bob And Doris Bowman,” ({%22issue_id%22:99994,%22view%22:%22articleBrowser%22,%22article_id%22:%22971364%22} ), April 25, 2019. Tyler Morning Telegraph, July 19, 2013.

  • Business
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Company Founders
  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Academics
  • Historians
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Literature
  • Nonfiction
Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Bowman, Bobby Neil, Sr. [Bob],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 27, 2022,

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April 28, 2019