Frederick Harris Rowe, 89, of Jacksonville, passed away Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at Heritage Health in Jacksonville.
He was born Nov. 10, 1923, in Jacksonville, a son of Richard Yates and Sarah Harris Rowe. He married the love of his life, Alice Mary Crabtree, on Dec. 22, 1954, in Jacksonville, and she preceded him in death April 18, 2012.
He is survived by four daughters, Sarah "Sally" Rowe of Frankfort, Ky., and Mary Henry (husband, Joe Racey), Millicent "Millie" Deal (husband, Harmon) and Julie Rowe, all of Jacksonville; seven grandchildren, Harris Cole Henry of Washington, D.C., and Margaret Henry York (husband, Adam), Madeline Henry, Annie Deal, Lucy Deal, Carter Lockman and Samuel Lockman, all of Jacksonville; two great-grandchildren, Finley and Henry York; a sister, Sally Rowe Kanaga (husband, William S.) of Orleans, Mass.; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; and one brother and sister-in-law, Richard Y. Rowe Jr. and Cranston Laningham Rowe.
Mr. Rowe was a graduate of Jacksonville High School, Class of 1941. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Illinois College and his Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University Law School in Evanston. During World War II he served in the United States Air Corps, with South Pacific Duty.
After receiving his law degree in 1950, he returned to Jacksonville to join his father in the administration of Central National Life Insurance Company, where he served as secretary/treasurer, and, after the death of his father, president and CEO. The company was bought by John Deere in 1981, and he continued to serve as president/CEO and chairman of the board until his retirement in 1986, when he co-founded Rowe, Henry and Deal.
In addition to his successful business career, Mr. Rowe enjoyed a wide variety of civic and political activities. He served on the Board of Directors of Elliott State Bank in Jacksonville; was a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of MacMurray College and former alumni trustee of Illinois College; he also served as former member and several terms as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale; was past-president of Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and former member of Jaycees; former director, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce; past president, Jacksonville Kiwanis Club; was former member of the Small Business Administration, Jacksonville Area Industrial Association, Masonic Lodge, B.P.O.E., Jacksonville Country Club, and the Morgan County, Illinois and American Bar Associations. He was proud to have been inducted into the Jacksonville Hall of Fame. Being a polio survivor, he served several years as chairman of the Morgan County Chapter of the National Polio Foundation.
Mr. Rowe inherited a lifelong interest in Republican politics from his father and former Governors Richard Yates and Richard Yates Jr., his great-uncles. He served 35 years as precinct committeeman, 28 years as chairman of the Morgan County Republican Central Committee, eight years as alderman, City of Jacksonville. He also served six years as state representative in the Illinois General Assembly, having been one of 59 successful Republican candidates on the statewide orange ballot in the 1964 at-large election. In 1966, he was the Republican candidate for state treasurer. He was a former member of the Municipal Audit Advisory Board, was past-director of Young Republicans, and was twice elected as delegate to Republican National Conventions in 1968 and 1976.
Mr. Rowe was a member of First Presbyterian Church, where he was an ordained elder and deacon and former trustee. He also served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Epworth Assembly in Ludington, Mich. Although he had many, wide interests, the primary interest in Mr. Rowe's life was his family and their activities. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. The family will meet friends following the service at the church. Private interment will be at Diamond Grove Cemetery. Memorials may be given to the Bob Freesen YMCA, First Presbyterian Church, or MacMurray College. The Williamson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be left online at www.airsman-hires.com.
Williamson Funeral Home
1405 Lincoln Avenue
Jacksonville, IL 62650
Published in Jacksonville Journal-Courier on Sept. 10, 2013