Frank William Bowden Jr., age 89, went home to be with the Lord on February 23, 2017. He was born June 4, 1927, in Goldsboro, NC, to Frank and Retha Bowden, Sr. Following graduation from Dillard High School, Frank was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Germany and France during World War II. Once he returned, Frank enrolled as a student at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. With a love for science and math, Frank went on to become a teacher. He was first employed in Monroe, GA where he faced many obstacles within the segregated school system. He later married the love of his life, Martha Lee Burden, an East Tennessee native whom he met during his first year in college. Frank continued his teaching career in Washington, NC, and then moved to Knoxville, where taught at Vine Junior High School and worked to integrate the Southern Appalachian Regional Science Fair. Frank made it his duty to be a public servant towards civil rights initiatives. Whether providing transportation and bail money for students of Knoxville College during the lunch counter and theater sit-ins or pushing integration in the school system, he stayed very busy and remained vocal against injustices. Frank continued his education, receiving his Masters of Science degree in Biology from Virginia State College and post-graduate studies from New York University and University of Tennessee. On September 25, 1969, he was appointed principal of Eastport Elementary School. One year later, he was promoted to principal of Park Lowery Elementary School. After two years, he was promoted again to serve as the first principal of Sarah Moore Greene Elementary School. Following his retirement in 1987 after 30 years of service with the city schools, Frank was appointed to serve on the Knox County School Board and later was elected as a Knox County Commissioner. As Commissioner, Frank submitted a resolution to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a legal paid holiday. Despite opposition the request was finally approved. Throughout his career Frank remained active in local youth organizations including Boy Scouts of America and Optimist International. Through the Optimist Club, Frank served as Charter President of the East Knoxville Chapter and became the first black governor of a district with Optimist International, serving Tennessee. He was a devoted and lifetime member (60 + years) of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. serving multiple terms as District Representative for the TN and KY regions. Frank also served several years in the Supreme Council of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at the National Headquarters in Washington, DC. He received numerous awards and recognitions for his service including the local chapter Omega Man of the Year.Frank was preceded in death by his grandparents, Preston and Leah Bowden; parents, Frank W. Bowden, Sr. and Retha Johnson Bowden; sisters, Carrie Isler and Ethel Murphy. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Martha Lee Burden Bowden; son, Frank W. (Carla) Bowden III, M.D., FACS of Jacksonville, FL; daughter, Jennifer (Danny) Zialcita-Simon; four grandchildren, Valdemar Zialcita, Zachary Zialcita, Chanel Bowden, and Morgan Zialcita; niece, Cardrina Bowden of Los Angeles, CA; a host of other relatives and friends.Mr. Bowden will lie in repose on Sunday, February 26, 2017 from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the William V. Powell, Jr. Memorial Chapel of Unity Mortuary, 1425 McCalla Avenue. The family will receive friends on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM with the funeral mass to follow at 10:30 AM at Immaculate Conception Church, 414 W Vine Ave, Knoxville. The final resting place will be held at New Salem Cemetery in Sevierville, TN. Services will conclude with a white dove release. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to local charities.