After four decades of serving the city of Boerne, the Ron Bowman era is almost over.
And what an era it has been.
Bowman announced last summer he would be stepping down sometime this summer, but the plans were made more concrete this month when the city announced that Benjamin Thatcher was hired as his replacement and begins his duties on June 15.
Bowman’s last day is scheduled for June 12, or a scant 3½ weeks away.
“It has been a huge honor and privilege to serve the city of Boerne all these years,” Bowman told us when we sat down with him last summer when The Star made the initial announcement he is stepping down.
Then he said, “There just comes a point in time when you want to do something else … take a breath, play golf, travel and enjoy life.”
Bowman began his career with the city in 1980 as administrative assistant to then City Administrator Edgar Schwarz. He served in that capacity until June 1983 when he was appointed by city council members to serve as administrator.
In 1995, when the citizens of Boerne voted to become a Home Rule City, Bowman was named as the city’s first manager.
He will retire as the longest tenured city manager, serving the same city, in all of Texas.
During Bowman’s 40-year run, Boerne has experienced significant changes – maybe most noticeably its population.
When he was hired in 1980, Boerne was a quaint and quiet little village nestled in the Hill Country with a population of 2,432. The current population is in the neighborhood of 17,000, an increase of a staggering 600 percent.
“I saw the potential for that (growth) to happen,” Bowman told us last summer. “I thought we had a lot of possibilities back then, and I still think we can get better. We have a great quality of life here. It’s what draws people here.”
Again, well said.
And, Boerne Mayor Tim Handren told us that much of Boerne’s success is because of Bowman.
“Ron has been the architect on how things have come to life here,” Handren said. “He has been calm under pressure, classy and handled all politics of the job with coolness I appreciate.”
Bowman served under five mayors: Art Howell, Patrick Heath, Dan Heckler, Mike Schultz and Handren. Over the past 40 years, he has served under dozens of council members.
Bowman said he is proud of several things, including the “overall character and integrity of our city staff.”
We certainly wish Bowman well and wish him a happy retirement. He deserves it.
And, we truly thank him for his hard work, vision and work ethic and for putting our great city on his shoulders and successfully carrying it forward.
We agree that much of Boerne’s positive progress over the decades can be attributed to this man, who in many ways forever will be known as “Mr. Boerne.”
Forty years – an incredible run. Congratulations, Ron. We will miss you.
And Bowman may have said it best when he muttered these words to us: “It’s hard to believe time has gone by this fast. I’m blessed to have landed in a community that to this day I don’t want to leave.”