From the City of Lakeway:|
Lakeway is mourning the loss of Cole Rowland, a pivotal leader in the city's transformation from a small resort town to a bustling community.
Rowland, mayor of Lakeway from 1991-93 and a key orchestrator of the city's controversial purchase of land that became Lakeway City Park, passed away March 27.
He also served as president of the Lakeway Civic Corporation, member of the City of Lakeway Board of Ethics and program chair of the Lakeway Men's Breakfast Club.
Both the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce and Civic Corporation honored him as Citizen of the Year in 1995 and 2001, respectively.
Rowland was the Lake Travis Water Advisor for the City of Lakeway from 1999 to 2010 and chairman of the Water Committee of the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce.
Lakeway Mayor Dave DeOme proclaimed March 18, 2013 as Cole Rowland Day in Lakeway during a Lake Travis Water Coalition ceremony honoring Rowland.
"The people of Lakeway lost a fine gentleman, good friend and great visionary," DeOme said. "In his one term as mayor, Cole made many significant contributions to early ordinances and procedures by which we continue to run our fine city over 20 years later."
Rowland's passion for Lakeway was matched by his fervent defense of the water rights and quality of the Highland Lakes.
He founded the Highland Lakes Group in 1993 and led the opposition to San Antonio Water System's approach in the 1990s to absorb the lakes into its system.
At the time, the Texas Water Development Board created the Trans-Texas Water Program that included a proposed pipeline to pump Highland Lakes water downstream to San Antonio.
Rowland also began publication of the Water Matters newsletter, which was published until 2012.
He was a founding director of Highland Lakes Political Action Committee (LakePAC) in 1995. After almost two decades under his leadership, Highland Lakes Group merged with Central Texas Water coalition in December 2012.
Rowland served as a member of the Lower Colorado Regional Water Planning Group from its inception in 2000 for seven years. He also served on several advisory groups at LCRA, representing the Highland Lakes. He continued his involvement in water issues by serving on the Green Committee at the Longhorn Village retirement community in Austin.
Rowland was born in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 7, 1929. After graduating from Louisville Male High School in 1947, he went to Purdue University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. He received his bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1951. As a Lieutenant JG, he served on active duty on two aircraft carriers, and then served two years as a NROTC instructor at the University of South Carolina.
He then completed his Master of Business Administration at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. He started his working career with Conoco Inc. in Houston. In 1959, Rowland took a job with Olinkraft Inc., in its paper and packaging division. In that same year, he married Ann McNeill of Austin, and they made their home in Monroe, La.
After 20 years in the paper and packaging industry in a variety of management roles, he joined petrochemical consulting firm Phillip Townsend Associates Inc. as vice president.
He retired in 1987 and moved with Ann to Lakeway where they lived for 24 years.
Rowland is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ann McNeill Rowland; daughter Chris Rowland McSwain and her husband, Andy; son Coleman Rowland III and his wife, Casey; as well as grandchildren Patrick Rowland, Stewart McSwain, Hallie Rowland and Blake Rowland.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 29 at St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church, 5600 RM 620 N. in Austin. A reception will immediately follow at the church.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in his memory may do so at St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church, or the
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Mar. 29, 2014