Norris Ray Bowen Sr.


Mr. Norris Ray Bowen Sr., 81, of Birdsnest, passed peacefully at his home on June 7, 2020. He was born May 9, 1939, in Broadwater, Hog Island. He was proud of his distinction of being the last baby born on that Virginia barrier island.

Norris was predeceased by his loving wife, Ruth Florence (Morrow); his beloved son, Norris Ray Bowen Jr.; his parents, Grafton and Marion (Simpson) Bowen; and his siblings, Gerald, Roland, and Delores.

Norris is survived by his daughter, Susan Brofford, her husband, Kevin, and their children, Kelsey, Claire, and Evan; his daughter-in-law, Denise Clayton, and her son, Zachary Bowen. He is also survived by his siblings, Connie Reynolds (Darrell), Brenda Bowen (Charles Butcher), and Robin Bowen (Jeannie).

He leaves behind his loyal and loving furry friend, Cashew, who will be well loved by Susan’s family.

A decorated veteran, TSGT Bowen was awarded a Bronze Star and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Force Medal. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1978 after 22 years in combined Air Force and Coast Guard service. He retired from police service in 2001 after serving the town of Exmore and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

He often felt like somewhat of a local celebrity after appearing in “Our Island Home” and “Welcome to the Table.” He took joy in regaling his fans with stories and recipes. His ties to Willis Wharf and Hog Island run deep and he has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Barrier Islands Center, 7295 Young St., Machipongo, VA 23405.

A graveside service will be held Thursday, June 11, 2020, at 2 p.m., at Belle Haven Cemetery, with the Rev. Tammy Estep officiating. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be planned for a future date.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements were made by Doughty Funeral Home in Exmore.
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