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Gov. Pence announces death of former Gov. Otis Bowen

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Former two-term Indiana Gov. Otis Bowen, shown at his home in Bremen in late 2000, turned 90 last month and was back in Indianapolis on Friday for a tribute dinner.

In a news release issued Sunday afternoon, Gov. Mike Pence announced the death Saturday of two-time Indiana Gov. Otis R. Bowen at the age of 95.

Following is the statement issued by Pence's office:

Having been informed by members of the immediate family of Governor Otis R. Bowen that the former governor passed away at 6:18 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at the Catherine Kasper Life Center in Donaldson, Indiana, Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement:

"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.

From his early days in Fulton County where his dreams of practicing medicine were born, to his service in uniform in World War II, "Doc" Bowen's life would be defined by caregiving and public service. Upon his return from military service, he started a private medical practice in Bremen and began a career in public life that carried him from local office to the General Assembly and on to one of the most consequential governorships of Indiana's second century.

As the first governor since 1851 to serve two consecutive terms in the office, our 44th governor led Indiana through a season of reform in taxes, healthcare, and government administration. Governor Bowen also advanced historic improvements to our state park and recreation system, helping to create five new state parks including the first urban park in Indiana.

After leaving office, "Doc" Bowen returned to medicine as a professor at the Indiana University Medical Center, but in 1985, this extraordinary Hoosier would be called, once again, to public service when President Ronald Reagan nominated him to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Secretary Bowen would lead that government agency until January 20, 1989, when President Reagan left office. Coming full circle, "Doc" Bowen returned to Bremen, Indiana where it all began.

Throughout his life, Governor Bowen's career was characterized by integrity, devotion to family, and love for Indiana. The debt this state owes to Governor Otis R. Bowen can only be repaid by relentless imitation of his example.

Karen and I send our deepest sympathies and prayers to his family, his wife Carol, and to his children and grandchildren during this difficult time. God bless you, Doc. Your caring work as a physician, your service, and your leadership left Indiana and our nation better for you having been here. You will be missed and your contributions to Indiana will be remembered always."

Pence has directed flags at state facilities to be flown at half-staff through May 11. He has also asked that businesses and residents lower their flags to honor Bowen.

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