Joe Merrell Bowman passed away peacefully on May 22, 2017 at his home, surrounded by his family.

Funeral services, under the direction of Heartland Funeral Home of Comanche, will be held 2 p.m. Friday May 26, 2017, at Heartland Funeral and Cremations in Early, with interment to follow at Board Church Cemetery in Comanche County. The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 25 at Heartland Funeral and Cremations, 303 Early Blvd, in Early. You may sign the register at either the Comanche or Early location of Heartland or leave condolences to the family at www.heartlandfuneralhome.net.

Joe was born August 24, 1936 in Gorman, Comanche County, to Arely E Bowman and Beatrice Northcutt Bowman.

He attended school in Comanche, until they moved to Midland, where he attended third grade through his graduation in 1954.

Joe and Marie Harris were united in marriage on March 9, 1956.

He has been a resident of Brownwood since 1959. He is a member of First Baptist Church.

Joe was employed for 37 years with TXDOT beginning in Midland TX in 1955. He retired in Brownwood. After five years of retirement and many engineering job offers, he accepted a position with the City of Brownwood where he retired after 27 years of service, due to his progressing illness.

His favorite pastimes were fishing, hunting for the big buck rack as well as meat to feed his family. He also loved to BBQ and serve as a football referee. He refereed state-wide including state playoff games.

Above all his family was incredibly important to him and he always wanted them around. His children, especially his two great-granddaughters, put the sparkle in those blue eyes.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Betty Sue; as well as his dear friend, Roy Evans.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Marie; his daughter, Teresa Molina; granddaughter, Crystal Molina; two great-granddaughters, Sheradyn Molina and Tierney Molina; cousins, Edwin Harris, Charles McNutt, Jerry Mast, and LaNell Williams; his beloved sister-in-law, Joana Gruerio, his best buddy, Leon Taylor; and numerous other family and friends.