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PETER MACGOWAN

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Peter Macgowan "A Life Well Lived" Longtime Tiburon resident Peter Macgowan passed away on the evening of August 13th, 2013 with his family by his bedside at the home he designed and helped to build. Peter was 93 years old. Peter lived a long and fulfilling life. He was married to his wife Barbara for 66 years, having met her on a blind date during WW II. Peter was born in New York City and spent the first 11 years of his life living in Manhattan where his father produced critically acclaimed plays for the famous playwright Eugene O'Neill. In 1931, Peter moved to Southern California with his family as his dad took a job in the booming movie industry and produced many popular films in the 1930 and 40s for two of the major studios in Hollywood. While he was a teenager, Peter became an excellent golfer and also learned how to fly airplanes. After obtaining a degree in Political Science from Harvard University in 1942, Peter immediately joined the Army-Air Force and taught flying at military bases in Northern California before shipping out to the Pacific during the last year of the war. Peter flew P-38s in several missions over Japan, and was later part of the occupational force after the end of the war. Following his return to the U.S. and release from the military in 1946, Peter married Barbara Jane Wright and the two moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he received his Masters Degree in Architecture. Their first son, Paul, was born shortly before the couple moved to Marin County, and Peter found work with a couple of different architectural firms in San Francisco as a draftsman and a designer. In 1960, Peter became the Vice President of Lester Gorsline Associates in Tiburon, and spent the next 17 years of his career as a specialist, helping to plan and build college, city and county medical facilities around the country and in different parts of the world. Peter also loved to travel, and he and his wife spent time in Russia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America, the South Pacific, as well as China where the couple lived for a year while they both taught at a University in Beijing in the mid 1980s. Peter was also very involved in the Tiburon community for many years, and was the first Planning Commissioner of Tiburon when it became a city in 1964. He was also very involved in the Marin Ecumenical Housing Association for a number of years. Peter was a terrific golfer and captain of his college team during his undergrad years at Harvard, and he also loved the outdoors. He introduced his family to hiking and backpacking and would take them numerous times to the Sierras, the Cascades, and the Tetons among other places, for one to two week camping trips. He also loved the beach and bodysurfed for many years until he was well into his 70s. Peter was also a big sports fan, and loved going to watch Major League Baseball, NFL and college football, and pro basketball games with his family. As a child he was a big fan of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Yankees, but he later became a follower of the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants. He also played baseball in both high school and college and later coached for several years in the Tiburon Little League. Peter was a gentle soul who always took an interest in people, and always believed in helping out his friends and family. He loved animals as well and had a number of dogs over the years, but his most beloved pet might have been 'Harry' a Dandy Dinmont who survives him and still lives with his wife, Barbara. Peter is missed by his wife, Barbara, his son Bruce Macgowan and daughter-in-law Colette daughter Becky Steere and son-in-law Thom, and his two granddaughters, McKenna Steere of Mill Valley, and Molly Macgowan of Fairfax. A memorial to celebrate Peter's life will be held in at the Tiburon Community Congregational Church, 145 Rock Hill Road, in Tiburon on Tuesday afternoon, September 10th at 5:00PM.
Published in Marin Independent Journal from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, 2013
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