Christopher Neal McGowan, 64, died on Thursday, March 4, 2021. He was a deeply loved son and brother, husband and father, Pop Pop, friend and colleague. A man of few words and many actions, his family and friends hold on tightly to an abundance of joyful memories of Chris spinning records, going on long bike rides, and fiddling with things at his garage workbench.
He is survived by his wife, Paula, his three children, Blake, Taylor, and Heather, their three spouses, and his four grandchildren. He is also survived by his mother, Jean, and three siblings, Robert, Susan, and Matthew.
Chris had an unbreakable bond with his siblings centered around hilarious antics of their childhood that carried into adulthood, and he deeply enjoyed annual family reunions with over 70 McGowans. He held onto the incredible work ethic of his father, the genuine care of his mother, and his family's love for adventure and travel throughout his entire life. Chris turned into the most giggly guy around his grandkids, because they brought out his childlike joy and silly side. They knew that Pop Pop was always ready to build something or sneak an extra snack or early dessert. There are few things he loved more than walking hand in hand and cooking with Paula, fishing and sipping bourbon with Blake, mountain biking and working on small handy projects with Taylor, and eating mint chocolate chip ice cream and watching a movie with Heather. His family is grieving and, most importantly, grateful.Â
By the end of his life, he had an immense amount of pride for the lives his three children have built and a deep appreciation for all that he had and all that he did. He was most thankful for his wife, Paula, who stood beside him through every trial and every triumph.
Chris's life was nothing short of memorable. He taught his family that the bike ride is never about where you're going but who rides alongside you. They lost their favorite riding partner, but they continue to ride together, remembering his laugh and his love. They will hold onto the legend he was, and they know he enjoyed the ride.Â
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Published by The Virginian-Pilot on Mar. 9, 2021.