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Ed was born on December 6, 1937 to Leonard Bowling and Elsie House Bowling in the community of Terrell’s Creek in Jackson County, Kentucky. He joined the family of three brothers Robert Sidney Bowling, James Ray Bowling and Franklin Delano Bowling, who, together with his parents, predeceased him.
In his youth, he learned to farm, grow tobacco, tend cattle and other animals with his father and brothers. After graduating from Tyner High School in 1956, he attended Sue Bennett College, Union College, then graduated from the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science in 1960.
Ed has been a funeral director and embalmer for over 60 years. Ed’s career in funeral services began when he started working for his great-uncle, DB House at House Funeral Home in the early 60’s before branching out and partnering with RC Walker and Edd Smith to open Bowling-Walker Funeral Home in 1965 on Dixie Street. He purchased sole ownership of the funeral home in the early 1970s, which still operates as a family business today. While operating the Dixie Street Funeral Home, he was also active with the Laurel County Fire Department and ran the ambulance service through the funeral home from 1965 to 1976.
Ed was first elected coroner in 1973 and served seven consecutive terms. He was awarded the highest rank of the Kentucky Coroners Association as a Master Coroner in 1995. He retired as Laurel County Coroner after serving the people of Laurel County for twenty-nine years.
Ed was a longtime member of the Corinthian Baptist Church, a member of McKee Masonic Lodge #144 and CD Ward Masonic Lodge #961 where he was a 32nd degree Mason. He was also a member of Oleika Shrine and Scottish Rights. He was recognized for his community involvement in 2017 by being named one of London’s Living Treasures.
Ed was well known to his friends and family as a prankster. He never passed up an opportunity for a good prank and did not discriminate. Whether he was painting skeletons on his grandparents’ goat, throwing opossums in the school gymnasium, cracking jokes before caller ID became available, or aggravating Jay Brummett, he was always looking for opportunities to add a little excitement to our day. When Ed wasn’t working, you’d find him fishing with close friends, hunting rabbits or birds, gardening, showing off horses, or knee-deep in a cow pasture.
Ed’s greatest achievement started in 1992 when he got the Papaw title. He was blessed with five grandchildren, all of whom he adored. He passed on to them not only his compassion for people, but also his love for animals and his farm. The grandchildren spent most of their time with papay at the barn, learning to ride horses and playing with goats.
Ed lived a life of service and truly loved the people in his community, always treating people like family as he helped them through difficult times.
Ed is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Keller Bowling; his son, Doug Bowling and his wife Mary Brooks, all of London, Kentucky; his daughter, Sandy and her husband William (Boo) Collette of Union, Kentucky; five grandchildren, Julie Collette Reynolds and her husband Austin, Carly Bowling Mink and her husband Brad, Barkley Bowling, Jordan Collette and Luke Collette, one great-granddaughter, Ella Joy Reynolds, one great-granddaughter on the way, Reese Carlyle Mink, plus a host of nieces, nephews and other family and friends to mourn his passing.
Leonard Edward Bowling left this life at home, surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, August 18, at the age of 84 years, 8 months and 12 days.
Ed Bowling’s funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Bowling Funeral Home Chapel with Dr. Andrew Dyer and the Reverend Bobby Helton officiating. Interment will follow at AR Dyche Memorial Park in London.
The funeral live stream will be available through the Bowling Funeral Home website and Facebook page.
Ed’s family will receive friends beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at the Bowling Funeral Home.
The Bowling family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Ed Bowling, RN (not a typo, another Ed Bowling) with VNA Hospice for the exceptional care he provided to our husband, father and grandfather.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation (to donate click here) or VNA Hospice (740 E Laurel Rd, London, KY 40741) in memory of Ed.

Published on August 23, 2022

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