Harris ROWE
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Harris Rowe

JACKSONVILLE, IL - Frederick Harris Rowe, 89, 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 on April 18, 2012.

He is survived by four daughters: Sarah "Sally" Rowe of Frankfort, Ky., 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., 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 U.S. 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, for 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. on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. The family will meet friends following the service at the church. Private interment will be in 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


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Published in The State Journal-Register on Sep. 10, 2013.
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Memories & Condolences
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14 entries
September 16, 2013
to Mary Henry my condolences on the passing of yor Father. It was a priviledge to have known him. I enjoyed many conversations with him over my years in Jacksonville and doing business with him. Jacksonville lost a great one.
Tim Dresing
September 11, 2013

September 11, 2013
Just to let his family know, in his own quite way, he got many, many people including me a State job. Besides being such a great person, a gentleman he was also a great helping hand to the Morgan co. folks. My condolences in your loss.
Jere Scott
September 10, 2013
To the Rowe girls and their families...So sorry to read of your Dad's passing. He and your Mom were great people!
Jim and Maureen Mayner
September 10, 2013
Wow, I always knew Harris was something special; reading his biography is the story of a great life. How lucky I am to have grown up next door to such a welcoming man and family. Sundays at the C.N. office were my favorite days. Mary, I feel as close to you and your family as I feel for anyone. I will remember Harris and Alice Mary for ever.
John Auner
September 10, 2013
My condolences to the family .
Rex R. McKinley
September 10, 2013
My condolences to the Rowe family !!!!
Bob Manker
September 10, 2013
Raised in Jacksonville, I remember Harris Rowe. Jacksonville has lost a good friend and a loyal resident. Rest well, and may God Bless Your Family and close friends.
P Taylor
September 10, 2013
In loving comfort during this very difficult time.
Amy (Moore) Williams
September 10, 2013
To all the family of Harris Rowe, we are sadden to hear of the death of Harris. He was a a great gentleman, a successful and proper man of integrity. We are thankful for his love and care of the family and friends. Our love and prayers are with all of you.
Tal and Sara Henry
September 10, 2013
Mary,My condolences to you and your family at this time.May your many memories help to comfort you.My prayers to you and your family.
Karen Hansmeier
September 10, 2013
I am so sorry for your family's loss. My thoughts are with you.
Cindy Fawkes
September 10, 2013
I first met Harris Rowe when I moved to Jacksonville in 1984 I can still recall our first conversation when we discussed Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where I graduated from in 1964. In this conversation, I instantly realized that I was talking to a highly intelligent and educated man.
Jacksonville was blessed to have a man the caliber of Harris Rowe. His achievements and accomplishments were second to none. In my opinion, Harris Rowe was a "LEGEND IN HIS OWN TIME".
Donald K. Ornellas
September 10, 2013
Goodbye old friend

Sam spink
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