by Anna Oakes
Friday was the last day for Bowman, who told Postmaster Donna Parker he might be running behind because of all the folks stopping him along his route to bid farewell and congratulations.
He started carrying the mail in 1974 in Florida, where he recalls a little kid would follow him around and ask him to sing a Kenny Rogers tune. Bowman, with a thick beard and twinkling eyes, does rather resemble "The Gambler."
Bowman came to Boone in 1983 and has served as a city carrier since 1991, with his route taking him to businesses and residences along Grand Boulevard, Queen Street, West King Street and Old Bristol Road.
"I certainly enjoyed it," said Bowman, who lives along his route. "My customers are also my neighbors."
Bowman said his career as a mail carrier gave him a fulfilling sense of accomplishment and that he appreciated the financial benefits, with the worst part of the job being those days when the weather made travel precarious. He said he witnessed many technological changes over the years, and nowadays, many more packages are delivered through the mail.
Bowman was a recipient of the Million Mile Club Award, which recognizes employees who drive more than 1 million miles without an accident.
On Thursday, Boone Post Office staff gathered for refreshments and cake in honor of Bowman, with Parker describing him as a one-of-a-kind employee, with a good attitude and a great work ethic.
"His customers never complain about him," she said. "I think the world of Bo."
The veteran carrier sent his customers a Christmas card in December letting them know he would be retiring.
Bowman said he is ready to move on to new things, including volunteer work, travel and more time spent working in the yard. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children -- "one's a scientist, one's a poet" -- and two grandchildren.