Raimond Bowles, a long-time public figure and civic leader in New Hampshire, died Saturday. He was 87.
Peers and friends recall the contribution of the Portsmouth man.
There are so many great stories out there about Bowles, a World War II veteran and family man who grew up fishing beneath the Old Man of the Mountain, and whose mother, author Ella Shannon Bowles, wrote "Let Me Show You New Hampshire." (Said book remains timeless, and the state's tourism office in the past decade used some of it to promote the Granite State.) He was charitable with his friendship and his expertise. Many a Seacoast-area journalist received his advice, often unsolicited, and a playful scolding when a story was missed.
Today's stories mention what a gentleman Raimond Bowles was. And he was. But he was a fighter, too, and stubborn as hell.
One of my favorite stories, from covering the Legislature: Bowles, a Republican, was elected a decade ago to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, one of his priorities being to find an "equitable" way of funding public education in the state. As the House went about handing out those special license plates, there was the perennial jockeying for the plum committee assignments. Only Representative Bowles didn't want a committee -- he felt he could get more accomplished without sitting on a few committees, which do the heavy lifting when it comes to New Hampshire legislation.
So there was Raimond Bowles, Man Without a Committee.
I recall people saying at the time that it was unheard of -- unprecedented perhaps -- for a member outside of Leadership to take such a stand. That was Raimond Bowles: Occasionally dogged, always an original.