This family photo includes Rippen, who is being held by his father, Dr. Lloyd Bowser Jr.; with his parents, Lloyd Bowser Sr. and Dr. Geneva Bowser, and his brothers, Dr. Lester and Lydell Bowser. (Courtesy Photo)
By Ralph E. Moore
Special to the AFRO
Two family members with the same name and the same give-back-to-the-community spirits died within a few weeks of each other toward the end of unforgiving 2020. Lloyd Bowser Sr. and Lloyd Bowser Jr. were larger than life figures in the Baltimore community. They were two professional men, who distinguished themselves in their jobs as much as they made themselves known in their volunteer service to others. Lloyd Sr. died of cancer on Oct. 8, 2020. He served on the Baltimore City School Board after a lifetime as a federal personnel trainer/manager. The younger Lloyd died weeks later on Nov. 13, 2020 of COVID-19; he was a podiatrist, a rare doctor who made house calls.
In a recent conversation with the oldest son of Dr. Geneva Briggs Bowser and the late Lloyd Bowser, Sr., Lydell Bowser, it was apparent how much the family was proud of the recently and dearly departed. “They are under the Lord’s grace and mercy, “he said. “I know they are where the Lord wants them to be.”
Lydell, also known as Dell, spoke of his father’s love of jazz (composer and musician, Thelonious Monk, trumpeter, Miles Davis and pianist Diana Krall in particular). The senior Bowser also enjoyed African-American history, especially information and artifacts related to the Buffalo Soldiers. He and his wife traveled extensively to commemorative events and shows to collect prints, statues, paintings and books from the group officially known as the Second Cavalry Division of the United States Army. The lower family room of the house was stocked with Buffalo Soldier memorabilia from World War II and a home library of Black history books. Lloyd Bowser informally was an educator to all. His interest in education was likewise reflected in his three terms of service as a commissioner on the Baltimore City School Board to which he was appointed by Mayor Kurt Schmoke.
Dell said his father was also interested in helping youth get a good start in life. He was a scout leader and also coached for the Northwood Baseball League. “Whatever his sons were involved with, my father took an interest and helped organize,” Lydell mused.
Dr. Lloyd Bowser Jr. had a “magnetic personality” according to his brother. The father and son “were cut from the same mold.” They were described as “very people-oriented.” An interesting story going around is that a fellow doctor (an intern) attended a health fair with Dr. Bowser as they did frequently. The intern with his literature and giveaways had no one coming to his booth. He noticed a long line of women in front of Bowser’s booth. When he went over to investigate, he soon realized that the foot doctor was giving foot massages to the women standing patiently in line. Free foot massages and lessons in foot care were hard for Lloyd, Jr.’s friend to compete with and he had to laugh at his podiatrist friend’s clever marketing technique.
Dr. Bowser was a graduate of Walbrook High School and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He received his medical degree in podiatry from the University of Iowa and had lived in New York, Delaware and Maryland. Dr. Bowser’s wife, Neeta Kataria, said of her husband, Lloyd, “He provided his medical services to elderly community members, who shared their life stories and memories with him.” And again remarkably he was a doctor who made house calls to his elderly, diabetic patients emphasizing to them the importance of foot care.