Grafton D. Bowers, D.V.M., 99, formerly of Cowgill, died at 1 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012 at the Liberty Hospital in Liberty.
Grafton was born on July 3, 1913, the son of Fred Mitchell and Ethel (Diddle) Bowers on the family farm north of Cowgill. He attended rural grade school at Easterville in New York Township. He graduated from Cowgill High School in 1931, valedictorian of his class. His youth included years of 4-H activities. He attended Kidder Junior College, Kidder, and Cameron Junior College, Cameron, to get required pre veterinary credits for admission to the Veterinary School of Kansas State College in Manhattan, Kans., from which he graduated in 1938 with a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He knew about horses. Horses were ridden to grade school, high school and Kansas State College from his workplace north of Manhattan, Kansas. After one year of study at K State, he married Estyl Cowgill, his high school sweetheart, on June 2, 1935. After graduation, they moved to Baton Rouge, La., where he was employed by the Bureau of Animal Industry, a division of USDA, working in diseases of cattle. In 1941 he changed to meat inspection for the city of Baton Rouge. In 1942, Grafton was inducted into the Veterinary Medical Corps U. S. Army to inspect meat for the armed forces. He was stationed in the packing house district of Chicago, Ill. for the duration. He mustered out of the army with the rank of captain at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, in 1946.
After the war, Grafton and Estyl bought the Dan Ballew place in northern Ray County. He practiced veterinary medicine there for 40 years. Doc traveled farm to farm in his trusty black, battered jeep. Grafton liked music and had a fine tenor voice. He was first tenor in a high school boy’s quartet that tied for first place at state with Kemper Military Academy. He was still singing at age 99. Grafton played several musical instruments, mainly banjo, mandolin and string bass. He and Estyl played with the Georgeville String Band and the Old Timers. In their later years they called themselves “We Two” and played music at festivals and nursing homes.
In Oct. of 1999, Grafton and Estyl left their family farm of sixty-four years and moved to Hill Crest Manor in Hamilton, and then to Ashton Court in Liberty, where they celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary in June. Grafton was a story teller. He entertained his family, friends, customers and festival audiences with stories. He often let Estyl carry on with festival music while he visited with listeners. He said if you try, you can make a connection with almost anyone. Grafton was a United States Army Medical Corps Veteran of WW II. He was a member of the Richmond American Legion Post #237. He was a member of the Kansas State University Alumni Association. He was a member of the Lathrop Antique Club. He was a member of the Ray and Caldwell County Historical Societies.
Survivors include; his wife Estyl of Liberty, one son and daughter-in-law, Samuel Mitchell and Agnes Bowers of St. Louis, three daughters and two sons-in-law, Brenda and Forrest Bonar of Lathrop, Ellen Bowers of Glendale, Calif., Charlotte and James McCollough of Topeka, Kans., ten grandchildren, Quentin Bowers, Amber Keister and her husband, Kevin, Alice Bowers, Brian Bowers and his wife, Holly, Rachel Daniels, Kevin Bonar, Heather May and her husband, Jared, Janet Fort, Dwight McCollough and Andrew McCollough. Ten great-grandchildren also survive.
In addition to his parents, Grafton was preceded in death by one brother, Fred Mitchell Bowers, Jr.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to either to the Cowgill United Methodist Church or to the Cowgill Cemetery.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 11 a.m. at the Cowgill United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Cowgill United Methodist Church. Burial will be in the Cowgill Cemetery with military graveside services provided by the Ray County Veterans.