Former Indiana Governor Otis Bowen Dies At 95

Former Indiana Governor Otis Bowen, who also served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan, died Saturday.

  • otis bowen

    Image 1 of 3

    Photo: National Institutes of Health

    Otis Bowen served as Indiana's governor from 1973 to 1981.

  • bowen with reagan

    Image 2 of 3

    HHS Secretary Otis R. Bowen (second from left) and NIH Director James B. Wyngaarden greet President Ronald Reagan during his July 23, 1987 visit to the NIH Clinical Center.

  • bowen portrait

    Image 3 of 3

    Otis Bowen's portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler

Otis Bowen, who was Indiana’s 44th governor from 1973 to 1981, died Saturday evening at Catherine Kasper Life Center in Donaldson, Indiana. He was 95 years old.

Bowen graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine and used his training to serve in the medical corp during World War II.

“Doc” Bowen served fourteen years as a Republican representative in the state legislature and four sessions as speaker of the house. He was elected governor in 1972 and served two terms, before President Ronald Reagan nominated him to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, where Bowen worked until Reagan left office in 1989.

In a statement, Governor Mike Pence said Indiana owes a debt to Bowen that can only be repaid by imitating his example.

“Governor Otis R. Bowen’s contributions to the life of this state and nation are incalculable, and I mark his passing with a sense of personal loss. His story is as inspiring as it is uniquely Hoosier,” Pence says.

IU President Michael McRobbbie said in a statement he feels fortunate to have known Bowen, who he calls a man of “integrity and unquestioned character.”

“Doc Bowen was a healer, a leader and a wonderful representative of Indiana University, both as a student and throughout his career as a physician, educator and political leader,” McRobbie says. “He was an extraordinarily impressive man who leaves behind a legacy of immense accomplishment that will be felt across Indiana and the nation for decades to come.”

Pence is ordering flags at state facilities be flown at half mast until May 11. He asks businesses and residents to do the same.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Politics Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook