Faith, Family, Football: Bobby Bowden’s virtues all on display in emotional funeral service

Bobby Bowden is eulogized by his children Tommy, Terry and Ginger at his funeral at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.
Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Tributes have been pouring in since legendary FSU Coach Bobby Bowden passed away last Sunday. But for the first time since then, those who held him most dear - his family- spoke.

Saturday’s service at the Tucker Center was not some grand revelation of the life of Robert Cleckler Bowden, but rather a celebration of what so many already knew of the iconic coach- faith was everything.

Tommy Bowden was the first of Bobby’s four sons to speak.

“My wife knows Jesus Christ, my son knows Jesus Christ, my daughter knows Jesus Christ,” said Bowden. “Her husband, my son’s wife, we’ve met him. Talk about leaving a legacy of influence. That’s what my father left me.”

Another of Bobby’s children, Ginger Bowden Madden, shared how family was the cornerstone of his earthly treasures.

“Anyone who spent any time with my mom and dad knows that Bobby Bowden loved and adored Ann Bowden...because if you were with them for just minutes you experienced it.,” she said. “The way that he looked at her, the way that he spoke to her, the way that he treated her, the way that he touched her.”

But as Terry Bowden shared, not all who he considered family shared the same last name.

“Very few of us can say that he loved us more than he loved somebody else,” he said. “We were trying to think of who all would speak- which player, which coach, which son, which friend, which booster, he cared for everybody.”

Football was in his heart, but it never was his heart.

“We need to make football a priority of our life but not the priority,” Terry Bowden said.

Faith, Family, and Football- in that order. It’s no surprise, but is a solace as Bobby Bowden passes from this life to the next.

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