Cleve Edgar Bowling, lovingly known as Pastor Cleve Bowling, passed away on September 28, 2023, in Hazard, KY. He was born on August 26, 1953, in Hyden, KY. Cleve led a remarkable life as a long-haul truck driver and the beloved pastor of the Flat Creek Church of Brethren in Big Creek, KY.
Throughout his career as a truck driver, Cleve traversed the highways and byways of the United States with dedication and commitment. His passion for driving allowed him to witness the ever-changing landscapes of this great nation. However, it was his role as a pastor that truly defined him.
As the spiritual leader of Flat Creek Church of Brethren, Cleve touched countless lives with his unwavering faith and humble demeanor. His devotion to serving others was evident in every aspect of his life. Cleve embodied the teachings of Christ through acts of kindness and compassion that left an indelible mark on all who were fortunate enough to know him.
Beyond his professional achievements, Cleve was a devoted family man who cherished the time spent with his loved ones. He married his loving and devoted wife, Zetta Jones Bowling, on March 12, 1983. Together they created a beautiful family filled with love and laughter.
Cleve doted on his four daughters: Martha J. Statler (Jason) of North Carolina, Jennifer S. Bowling of PA., Alene M. Parker (Carlie) of Williamsburg, KY, and Carrie M. Bowling of London, KY. He took immense pride in watching them grow into strong individuals and provided unwavering support throughout their lives.
In addition to his daughters, Cleve is survived by three brothers: Woody Bowling (Geraldine) of Ohio, Harold Ray Bowling (Linda) of Big Creek, KY, and Dennis Bowling of Big Creek, KY. His five sisters, Carrie Napier, Edna Griffin, Lois Smith, all of Big Creek, KY, Sally Gillespie of Louisville, KY, and Laura Michelle Howard (Shayne) of TN were also dear to him. Cleve was a family-oriented man who recognized the importance of their bond.
His warm presence extended to his cherished grandchildren: Caitlyn Worden (Ethan), Lindsay Kunkleman, Emilee Statler, Shelby Wagaman, Cassidy Bowling, Bryan Adams, Nicholas Parker, Jonathan Belk, Kloey Skidmore, Mackenzie Lawson-an extraordinary testament to his legacy. Cleve was also blessed with eight wonderful great-grandchildren.
Cleve was preceded in death by his parents Woodrow and Martha Gibson Bowling. Additionally, three brothers- Charles Bowling, Dennis Bowling, and J.C. Bowling-, one sister- Mary Ruth Sword-, and one sister-in-law- Linda Bowling have passed before him.
Outside of his professional and familial responsibilities, Cleve enjoyed various hobbies and interests that brought him joy. He found solace in the peace and tranquility of nature while fishing or hunting in the breathtaking mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Four-wheeling through rugged terrains allowed him to embrace the thrill of adventure alongside friends and loved ones.
Cleve's adventures fueled by a profound faith enriched his life immeasurably. Possessing a witty sense of humor endeared him to many; he had an infectious laugh that brightened even the darkest days. Each encounter with Cleve left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew him.
Cleve's dedication extended beyond his career as he proudly served in the U.S. Army-a testament to his patriotism and love for his country. His selflessness in defending freedom inspired all who heard his stories.
A funeral service will be held on October 2, 2023 at the Joy Center located at 64 Joy Ave, Big Creek, KY. The service will commence at 1:00 p.m. with Rev. Larry Stubblefield, Rev. Dwayne Yost, and Rev. Dave Balmer officiating. Burial will follow in the Floyd Sizemore Cemetery at Hyden, KY. Visitation will take place on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023 at the Joy Center beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Cleve Edgar Bowling, a man of unwavering faith, love, and humility, will be dearly missed by all whose lives he touched. His memory will forever remain etched in our hearts as we cherish the beautiful moments we were fortunate to share with him. May his soul find eternal rest in the embrace of his Heavenly Father.