Neighbor to Neighbor

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Many people have told me, "It takes all kinds of people to fill the world." The longer I live, the more I find that true. On Thursday, April 10, I joined friends, neighbors and family members of Lloyd "Pops" Augustus Bowrey to honor him and the life he shared with us before he embarked to be with his wife and others. We have been missing him.

Some people fear change, possibly a journey alone. "Pops" was a devout Roman Catholic and a parishioner at St. Pascal Baylon Church for more than 35 years, so he never felt alone or afraid. Since his birth on Sept. 27, 1922, "Pops" did considerable traveling. He was born to Johanna and John Bowrey in British Guyana (now Guyana), where he was educated and joined the British Guyana Police Force, later becoming assistant superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Division-Eve Leary Station.

He retired from the force in 1966 and emigrated to the United States, where he received a business degree from Baruch College. He became a Wall Street banker with the Connecticut Bank and Trust Company, working until his retirement at 62. He worked hard providing for his family of seven surviving children: Lloyd Jr., Ian, Myrtle, Orrin, Colin, Joan Ann and Neil. All have been grateful for his gentle but strong guiding ways.

On nice days, he was often seen looking well-dressed and happy, absorbing the sun and chatting with passers-by outside his son Ian's Bowrey Pharmacy. He found something nice to say about all kinds of weather and almost everything and everyone else. He was satisfied saying little but listening carefully, except when the topic was about one of his favorite sports.

St. Pascal Baylon's Monsignor Robert McCourt lead us in prayer for "Pops" "until we meet again." We miss him already and it will always be that way. May he rest in peace.

We knew "Pops" as a good guy, and people who know Frederick J. Kress claim he, too, is a good guy in spite of the fact that some detractor has been disparaging the work of Fred's Cornucopia Society and the city Parks Department in circulated, written material.

Those who have volunteered for years all received criticism from time to time some justified, some not. Constructive criticism is not only appropriate, but appreciated. Then we find someone whose only claim to fame is assuring others that the hardworking volunteers who spend many hours risking life and limb, particularly in the middle of Sunrise Highway or cleaning and beautifying the all war and Vietnam veterans memorials, do nothing.

One might be tempted to ask her for her qualifications as a critic. I have asked myself, but no one seems to know. She is known not as a community activist, but a negative letter writer. She does not come forth to answer calls to volunteer sometimes even with the Cornucopia Society cleaning up the memorials she claims are lacking in care. She is, however, known to visit the area.

On Saturday, April 19, while Fred was doing his regular cleanup at the Vietnam Monument, the lady critic arrived at the site. You might ask if she went there to apologize for what she said. No. Maybe she went to volunteer help? No. She went there to dump a bag of her own garbage in a public garbage can, after which she immediately sped out of the bus stop where she had parked when she noticed Fred working there. Maybe she rushed away to think up some thoughtful way to make amends.

As if that was not surprising enough for Fred, one morning he had another visitor, but one greatly appreciated.

A former Rosedale resident, Arthur Larsen, drove 4 hours from his Pennsylvania home to visit Rosedale and see if his name was still noted on the Vietnam Monument, which it is. He was so appreciative to see that Fred was caring for the area that he presented Fred with a handsome medallion inscripted "U.S. Marine Corps, Semper Fidelis, Pop A Smoke, Combat Helicopter Association."

Fred told him of his recently announced plans to honor veterans on May 24 and celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial a few days before the actual anniversary (Memorial Day), so traditional memorial services will not be affected. Further details will be announced, but all are welcome even "you know who." Larsen plans another special trip to attend.

Things to come that are important: "It's My Park Day" cleanup and beautification of Veterans Square and the Vietnam Monument at Cornucopia Plaza, May 10. Tools and materials will be supplied and lunch will be provided after cleanup. To volunteer, call 718-341-1395 by May 8.

On Wednesday, May 21, Patrol Borough Queens South will host its fourth annual Police Talent Show at 7 p.m. at the York College Performing Arts Center, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd. It is free and highly recommended.

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