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John Gower

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John Gower Obituary
John C. Gower, 70, Green Bay, passed away on Dec. 10, 2011. He was born on Jan. 10, 1941, to the late Benjamin and Julie (Paradis) Gower in Kankakee, Illinois.

John was a proud alumnus of Kankakee High School, class of 1959. He was member of the Kankakee Student Council, National Honor Society, Debate Team, Forensics, wrestling team, served as the Company President at the National Achievement Conference 1957, and was a recipient of the Junior Achievement Merit College Scholarship. He was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, and was a recipient of the Best Legislator Award at the Illinois (American Legion) Premier Boys' State 1957 and was a recipient of an Illinois Merit Scholarship 1958.

John participated on the Liberal Arts College Student Council, Political Union, and Franklin Forum while attending Marquette University (1963) as well as serving as an Explorer Boy Scout Post 705 Advisor.

While attending Marquette Law School (1966) John served as a Student Bar Association member, Executive Council, Placement Director, Editor in Chief, Placement Digest 1965 to 1966, Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity 1964 to 1966, Vice-Dean 1965 to 1966, and was a recipient of American Jurisprudence and Outstanding Senior Awards.

John greatly enjoyed seeing class mates at reunions and frequently attended them. John strongly believed in participating in his community. He served as Brown County District Attorney (1967 to 1971), Brown County Supervisor (1972 to 1974; 2003 to 2004), Wis. State Representative - 4th District (1973 to 1979), Shawano County Supervisor (1984 to 1986), and Oconto County District Attorney (1990 to 1991).

John also was employed as Assistant General Attorney at Inland Steel Products, Milwaukee, (1966 to 1967), Town Attorney for the Town of Wrightstown, Assistant State Public Defender for Marinette and Oconto Counties (1985 to 1990), and Shawano and Menominee Counties (1981 to 1985) and maintained a private law practice between jobs and was currently self-employed. In addition he formerly owned University Travel Agency and Moore Fun Tours.

John held memberships with the Marinette, and Oconto Bar Associations, Oconto County Court House Facilities Security Committee, the Brown County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, Wis. Academy of Trial Lawyers, Wis. Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the State Bar of Wisconsin. John currently served on the NWTC Board of Trustees since 2003 and Brown County Harbor Commission since 2005.

John was a loyal member of the Republican Party. He was honored to receive the Alvan E. Bovay award for the 8th Congressional District in May, 2011. John spent many hours working for the 8th District Resolution Committee.

John was also a member of the Brown County Taxpayer's Association, M &M Yacht Club in Menominee MI, Marinette Elks Club - Lodge 1313, and Marinette Masonic Lodge. He was a co-founder of the Community Council on Drug Abuse in Green Bay - developing the first educational program to combat drug abuse and organized the crisis hotline. In addition John held former memberships in the La Baie Verte Rowing Club in De Pere, South Side Civic Association, Astor Neighborhood Association, and United Amerindian Center Board of Directors. John had a passion for flying and boating. He was a former member of the Red Barons Inc. flying club and a formerly licensed U.S. Coast Guard Pilot. John loved to sail and spent many hours on his sailboat, Kanawa, in the waters of Green Bay and had even taken it across Lake Michigan to the state of Michigan with his son Andy. John also participated in the Hook Race on two occasions with friends. His passion for wood working lead him and friends to spend many hours refinishing his favorite Chris Craft wooden boat.

John enjoyed time spent with family for many years summering in Sister Bay and Washington Island. He and his mother built and owned a home on Beach Road in Sister Bay for many years. There were many camping trips with his children and friends on Rock Island. John was well known for his "marine rats" camping story.

John married Larae LeRoy (Puissant) on Sept. 17, 1988, at the Boat House on Rock Island. The couple enjoyed traveling together to destinations such as Wales, Ireland and Hawaii. John also traveled with his children and was fondly known for his five minute tours. In his later years John loved to spend time with his grandchildren - enjoying time on the beaches and boats on Washington Island and touring national parks in California.

John is survived by his wife, Larae; four children, David Gower, Madison; Heather Gower-Small and her husband, Jeff along with their children, Nathan and Matthew, Danville, Calif.; Melissa Gower-Williamson and her husband, Robert and their children, Cecelia (Cece) and Eleanor (Nora), Madison; Andrew Gower, Baton Rouge, La.; and one stepson, Jon LeRoy and his wife, Nadine. He is further survived by father and mother in-law, Nick and Mary Metoxen; brother-in-law, Jerry (Sharon) Schuyler; sisters-in-law, Carol Manning, Audrey (Wayne) Wishart, Diana (Edwin) King, Barbara Metoxen, Brenda Skenandore, Vicki Metoxen, Linda (Vincent) Powless, Leslie (Gus) Ness, Sue Ann (Jose) Martinez, Michelle (Blair) Braaten; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, many dear friends and the family dog, Cody.

He was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, Charlotte Gower-Chapman and Marge Paradis-Selling; uncle, Culver Paradis; and father and mother in-law, John and Velora Puissant; niece Lola Skenandore.

Friends may call on Friday, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Lyndahl Funeral Home, 1350 Lombardi Avenue, Green Bay. THE PARISH PRAYER SERVICE HAS BEEN CHANGED from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home. Visitation will continue on Saturday at the church from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 710 N. Baird, Green Bay, 10:30 a.m. with Fr. Anthony Cirignani, O.F.M. officiating. Online Tributes may be shared at www.lyndahl.com. Burial at Mound Grove Gardens of Memory, Kankakee, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial will be established.

The family would like to thank Debbie O'Donnell for her kindness and care.

Lyndahl Funeral Home

And Cremation Services

1350 Lombardi Avenue

Green Bay, Wisconsin

(920) 499-1223

Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Dec. 11 to Dec. 16, 2011
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