Just as gems have many sides that sparkle, so did Robert Lee Bowden of Charlotte, N.C.

Robert shined brightly in many areas from his love of fishing to being a superb craftsman and brick mason who helped build Spirit Square, the Pineville Mall and most of the big buildings in uptown Charlotte, his family said. His work life ended a dozen years ago when a boulder fell on him on the job.

“He was paralyzed from the neck down,” said Evelyn, his wife of eight years. “He had reconstructive surgery and learned to walk. He was a miracle – someone sent to me by God on a loan.”

Robert, a Rockingham native, died August 31, 2011 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 62 years old.

From prayer partner to beau

Robert and Evelyn met at their church, Temple Church International. They were prayer partners. He asked her to go out for a sandwich, and the friendship slowly developed into a “beau” relationship, Evelyn said.

“He was a saved man,” said Evelyn. “He was just a gem.”

She took him to New Jersey to meet her family, then to daughter Lori Davis’ house for Thanksgiving.

Most of their children were grown with families of their own when the couple married. Robert’s children with former wife Darlene were Robert Jr., Ervin and Melana. Her late mother had raised his daughter Robin and they reconnected when she was 16.

Evelyn had daughter Lori and son Anthony.

“We all got together and approved of the marriage,” Darlene said. “We wished them happiness.”

“He was quiet, lovable and easy to talk to,” daughter Robin said. She recalled fishing with her dad and walking with him on California’s Walkway of the Stars on Hollywood Boulevard.

Son Ervin said his dad kept him in line and taught him to be strong and stay out of trouble.

“He was a good father figure, a good dad,” said Ervin. “He took care of us until we got a certain age and ready to move on.”

His wife added, “Anything he could do for you, he would do.”

He put love in it

“Rob loved to entertain and loved to cook,” Evelyn said. “If I have a big dinner, he’d prep everything. He’d sauté the onion and celery so when I came home I could start cooking. He cooked a mean pot of greens – he used smoked turkey necks and peppers. He put a lot of love into everything. Anything Rob did, he did with a lot of love. He took pride in his home and his vehicles, too.

“He had a lot of wisdom and kept my intellect up,” Evelyn said. “He could talk about anything and everything under the sun. It was a great thing, the communication between us. We’d talk for hours on any subject. Sometimes he read my mind and it frightened me when he started doing that.”

She added, “He loved his children and his family and, thank God, most of all he loved me. He showed me what it was like to be loved by a man.”

Many will say that you’re a most fortunate woman, Evelyn.

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Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them. Email editor@qcitymetro.com

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