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Obituary Notice – Homer “Chum” Bowker, Jr.

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BowkerHBowkerH2FORESTVILLE:  Homer “Chum” Bowker, Jr., 95, of Prospect Street, Forestville, died Monday, July 22nd, 2019 at his residence, following a short illness.  He was born in Forestville, on July 1, 1924, the son of the late Homer R. and Lucy I. (Matteson) Bowker, Sr.

Mr. Bowker was a graduate of Forestville Central School, Class of 1943, went into the US Army in 1943, completed basic training and went directly overseas.  Mr. Bowker fought in New Guinea and the Philippines.  He received two Bronze Stars & two Purple Hearts with Oak Leaf Clusters.  Mr. Bowker was severely wounded and spent many months in a Manilla hospital recovering.  He recently received his infield promotion to Sergeant for his time in Luzon.

When he came home he opened Chum’s Sunoco Service, in Forestville and operated it for 40 years.  Mr. Bowker was a member & Past Commander of J. Carter Knapp American Legion Post #953, Forestville, a life member of Samuel Cimino VFW Post #6472, Silver Creek, a former member & Past Chief of Forestville Fire Department, was a Trustee for the former Village of Forestville, serving as Mayor for 8 years, was a member & Past President of the Chautauqua County Mayor’s Association, was a Councilman for the Town of Hanover for 16 years, was a member of the Forestville Bi-Centennial Committee, a past member of the Forestville Fall Festival Committee, on the Advisory Board for Evans National Bank, was in the Sheriff’s Mounted Division for 10 years, volunteered with Meals on Wheels, delivering in very rural areas and was very active with the Forestville Food Pantry.  He was Director of Little League Baseball, started softball, soccer & T-Ball for the younger kids for many years and sponsored many bowling, baseball and basketball teams.

Survivors include his wife Katherine E. “Beth” (Hitzemann) Bowker of Forestville, whom he married 40 years ago on June 1, 1979, in Forestville, a son, Bruce (Claudia) Bowker, of Amargosa Valley, NV, two grandchildren Melissa (Andrew) Bowker-Kinley of Falmouth, ME and Travis Bowker of Las Vegas, NV, three great grandchildren Alexander, Christopher & Katherine Kinley, two nieces Amy Barnheisel & Holly Jewell, two great nieces Kylee & Emma Barnheisel and a great nephew Ethan Jewell. Besides his parents he was predeceased by a son Barry Bowker, who died February 21, 1998 and a brother Robert Bowker who died January 15, 2019.

A Celebration of Life will be held Tuesday, August 6th at the J. Carter Knapp American Legion Post #953, Cedar Street, Forestville, from 1-3 with Rev. James D. Hankey, pastor of the Forestville United Methodist Church, officiating.  Military services will be conducted by members of J. Carter Knapp American Legion Post #953, Forestville.  Private Interment will be at the convenience of the family Forestville Cemetery.

The family suggests memorials may be made either to Forestville Fire Dept. Emergency & Rescue Squad, PO Box 299, Forestville, NY 14062 or to the Hanover Little League, PO Box 41, Silver Creek, NY 14136.  Arrangements are by Riles & Woolley Funeral Home, Forestville.  To post condolences go to




  • Jan Crowell Jacob
    Posted July 25, 2019 at 7:49 am

    So many great memories. If I had to pick one person to say He is the best of Forestville”, hands down it is Chummy. Love to the family. Jan Crowell Jacob

    • Bruce and Claudia Bowker
      Posted August 30, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      Jan thank you so much for your kind words. He was a truly special person and he will be missed by so many more than we will ever know.

  • Carolyn and Kenny Cybulski
    Posted August 6, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Our heartfelt condolences to you and Chum’s families. His life was filled with service to others and a role model to follow. God blessed you with a good one for 40 years. May the angels above wrap you with love getting you through this difficult time. Kenny and I can’t come for today’s service. My sister and family are up here to represent. Hugs and love sent to you. Carolyn and Kenny Cybulski

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