The contributions of Edwin H. Bower are legendary, spanning 40 years of service in Collier County. Born in 1906 of humble farm parents in Michigan, as the youngest of five children, he was the only one to pursue and achieve a college education. As a newly minted CPA, after working for a large firm, he founded his own firm in 1933 in Detroit in the depths of the Great Depression. This experience reinforced his basic values of thrift and a strong work ethic.
In 1965, his firm was purchased by Arthur Young & Company, which later became Ernst & Young. Freed from all his past responsibilities, his decision to move to the very young community of Naples, Florida was questioned by many. But, Ed recognized the potential of this community and literally dove into it. He was recognized as a man with leadership skills, and was soon tapped by such young fledgling organizations as The United Way, The Conservancy, Community Foundation of Collier County, and Naples Community Hospital. In all these organizations, Ed served in important leadership roles. In 1973, he was honored as “Citizen of the Year.”
In addition to his “public face”, Ed gave generously and quietly to help the young, the disabled, and the elderly in need. His belief that education was critical to our society guided him in his founding of “Step by Step”, a school for the developmentally disabled. His large gifts to the Immokalee Child Care Center were instrumental in the construction of that facility. Again, in honor of his continuing significant contributions to the children and families of Collier County, he was selected as the 1995 recipient of the Cosgrove Award, given annually by the Community Foundation of Collier County, in honor of his philanthropic generosity.
After his move to Moorings Park in 1994, he perceived the need for a Chapel. He envisioned a beautiful building offering food for the soul-Spiritual and musical. He envisioned the chapel as an architectural and musical jewel, offering a wide array of educational, spiritual, and musical events to the residents of Moorings Park, and the greater Naples community as well. Ed was an early supporter of FGCU and its importance to the young people of this community. He would be proud today to witness his belief in education and his love for this community culminating in this gift by his family to endow the Bower School of Music. What a tribute to this wonderful man on the 100th anniversary of the beginning of his remarkable life.