Longtime friend of DeKalb County corrections deputy who died from COVID-19 discusses his posthumous legacy

Northeast Alabama

CROSSVILLE, Ala. – Loved ones of Mickey Bowen opened up to News 19 Monday to pay tribute to him after he died of COVID-19 complications last week.

“Even though we weren’t blood brothers, he was the epitome of a brother. ….literally would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” said James Clayton.

Clayton had known Bowen for more than 40 years.

He said the 49-year-old Crossville resident fought hard against the coronavirus for about a month before his passing at UAB hospital.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do now,” said Clayton through tears. “It’s going to be tough for a while. He was so looking forward to being able to walk his daughter down the aisle next year”

Bowen’s wife Michelle told News 19 her husband experienced panic attacks and trouble breathing while in the hospital.

“I could tell from the way he was texting, he was scared. I think he knew how serious he was. He had a hard time with it. I know there was times when he struggled severely with it,” explained Clayton.

Bowen worked at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office for 21 years and was recently promoted before he contracted COVID-19.

“I don’t think you can say that if you’re young, you’re not going to have to worry about it or if you’re old, you’re definitely going to die from it. It affects people differently and unfortunately in Mickey’s situation. He was a young healthy guy for the most part but it had a very big effect on him, so it is a very dangerous disease. I want people to know we’re not going to remember Mickey as a casualty of this disease. Mickey is going to be remembered for the life he lived and how much he meant to us,” said Clayton.

Michelle quietly cried as she shared audio from Bowen’s end of watch call with News 19.

“Final call for DC 10, corrections officer Mickey Bowen. Your watch has ended. You may now go home. DC 10 is now 10-42. End of watch: October 27, 2020. Thank you for your service.”

Michell and Clayton said they are not sure how Bowen contracted the coronavirus. 

His wife and daughters were able to spend the last hour and a half of Bowen’s life with him in the hospital.

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