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HARRY M. ROWE, M.D. - WELLS RIVER - Harry M. Rowe, M.D. died on Aug. 3, 2012, in Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, N.H., just two months short of his 100th birthday. He was born on Oct. 4, 1912, in Peacham, to Edward L. and Mary (Ricker) Rowe. He graduated from Peacham Academy in 1929, received his B.S. from the University of Vermont in 1936, and his M.D. in 1943. It was at UVM that he met Mary Whitney, an accomplished musician, whom he married in 1940. In 1946, after World War II, they moved to Wells River, where they established a medical practice, became leaders in their church and community, and raised their family of six children. Mary died in 2002 after a long illness. For the past seven years, Harry has shared deep and delightful companionship with Priscilla Hood. Dr. Rowe was well known for his dedication to the practice of medicine. A founding member of the VT Chapter of the American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP), he also served as president of the VT State Medical Society, and twice received that society's distinguished community service award. The AAFP twice awarded him Vermont Family Doctor of the Year, and recognized his 60 years of service with their National Distinguished Service award. He was named Physician Alumnus of the Year by the UVM College of Medicine, received with Mary the UVM Alumni Achievement Award, and was honored by the UVM College of Medicine Alumni Association with the Bradley Soule award. Locally, he was recognized by Cottage Hospital for 50 years of outstanding support and service to humanity, and by the Grafton County Commissioners for service to Grafton County Nursing Home. Each of these awards meant a great deal to Harry, but in later years he took particular delight when he met people on the street who said, "Dr. Rowe, you delivered me!" or who told stories of how he cared for them years ago. Community service was a strong value for Dr. Rowe. He was a Rotarian for 60 years, and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. He was an active member of the Wells River Congregational Church, serving in many leadership capacities and singing in the choir. He sang in the North Country Chorus for 64 years, and played an important supporting role to Mary for the 50 years she directed the chorus. Most notably, he was dedicated to improving public education, serving on the local Board of Education for 61 years. One of his proudest accomplishments, was being an advocate for building Blue Mountain Union School, and he took great interest in its continuous improvement. He received several honors for contributions to public education, including the Vermont School Boards Association Robert T. Stafford Bell award. He followed with interest the BMU boys' and girls' basketball teams, and looked forward to choosing the player awards at the Rotary Basketball Tournament each January. He enjoyed attending graduations, musical concerts, and other special presentations at BMU. It was a particular surprise and joy to have the marching band play for him personally on his 99th birthday. Dr. Rowe was a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served as Captain of the 303rd Medical Battalion 78th Infantry division, behind the front lines in Germany, and earned a Bronze Star for meritorious service. During his 15 months overseas, he and Mary wrote letters to one another every day. The recovery of those letters after her death inspired him to write a memoir entitled, "The Grass Grew Greener," with local author, Terry Hoffer. Bringing that book to completion and sharing it with others brought him great satisfaction. Surviving him are his children and their spouses, David Rowe and Marjorie Berger of West Hartford, Conn., Betsy Waters and Steven Veno, of Berlin, Mass., Susan and Kevin Dalton of Acton, Mass., John and Linda Rowe of Fairview, N.C., Alan and Stephanie Rowe of St. Johnsbury, and Jane Rowe and Ronald Brown of New Britain, Conn. Also surviving him are 20 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Alice C. Rowe; his beloved companion, Priscilla Hood; and a large extended family. A memorial service will be held at Blue Mountain Union School, 2420 Route 302, Wells River, on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, at 2 p.m. Interment will be private. For more information or to sign an online condolence please visit www.rickerfh.com. Ricker Funeral Home, Woodsville, N.H., is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Wells River Congregational Church Memorial Fund, or to the BMU Activity Scholarship Fund.

Published in The Burlington Free Press from Aug. 5 to Aug. 6, 2012
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