Hamilton lawyer remembered as ‘a fantastic attorney and acting judge’ following death from motorcycle crash

ajc.com

Many from legal community share sadness, saying he was a good friend, legal mind and great person.

Hamilton attorney Jeffrey Bowling has died after a motorcycle crash earlier this month.

Bowling was injured Aug. 4 when he was struck on an Indiana road and taken to an Indianapolis hospital, where his wife, Beth, confirmed he died Friday.

He was on his way to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota when the crash happened.

Bowling was a founding partner of Rapier & Bowling Co. LPA, and a lifelong resident of Hamilton. He was an avid sports fan, music lover and outdoorsman, according to the law firm website.

He graduated from Hamilton High School in 1986, served in the U.S. Army, then graduated from Miami University and earned his law degree from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1998.

Bowling was licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan and also served as an acting judge in the Butler County Area Courts. He served on the Board of Directors for the Fitton Center for Creative Arts and the River’s Edge Concert Series.

Beth Bowling, Jeff’s wife, said she is grateful for the prayers from the community and messages of support.

News of Bowling’s death traveled quickly through the Hamilton area where many had followed the updates about his fight to recover on the CaringBridge site.

Many from the legal community shared sadness of losing a good friend, legal mind and a great person.

“Jeff was a fantastic attorney and acting judge. He was an even better friend and person. This is a tremendous loss for our legal community, but Jeff’s impact on those of us lucky enough to have called him a friend will be carried with us as we continue his legacy of advocacy and justice. Thank you Jeff for your example and your friendship,” Butler County Common Pleas Judge Dan Haughey said via Facebook on Friday.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard said, “Jeff was a friend of mine and a very good attorney. As a judge, he appeared before me only once, but it was on a very complicated and serious murder case and he was always prepared and did an excellent job on the case given what he had to work with.”

Howard said Bowling was looking forward to his trip to Sturgis.

“My prayers go out to his wife and family in this difficult time,” the judge said.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brad Burress said, “I am grateful for his service to our nation and his community. The legal community lost a great lawyer and an even better person.

While Bowling was a “great attorney” he was even better man, said defense attorney David Washington.

“It is a tragedy for the entire legal community and the community in general,” Washington said.

Bowling was seeking the governor’s appointment to a county area court judgeship, but that appointment went to another attorney earlier this month.

Butler County Treasurer Nancy Nix, a friend and a supporter, said she received a written letter of thanks from Bowling.

“Jeff had been seeking an area court judgeship, and fell just short,” Nix said. “He found this bad news out right before his trip to Sturgis. Before leaving town, Jeff had written heartfelt, personal thank you notes to all those who had tried to help him win the judicial appointment. The thank you notes didn’t hit our mailboxes until after we had heard about his terrible accident. My note said, ‘I know my future is bright,’ and ‘there will be plenty of opportunities for me ...’ like he was trying to make ‘us’ all feel better about him not receiving the appointment.

“It was one of those notes you keep forever. Jeff had many, many friends. He was the nicest guy, well liked, and always willing to help. He had a wonderful demeanor, and we will all certainly miss having him around. I’m sorry he won’t become the wonderful judge we knew he would be. Such a loss.”