Shrewsbury - Simple but profound words were weaved into one of the eulogies at the recent funeral of the late Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu which read 'Tears are somewhat an inappropriate response to death. When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death's perfect punctuation mark is a smile.' (Julie Burchill)
Robert Alfred Rowse died on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2021 at his home on Marco Island, Florida surrounded by his family. He was 96.
Bob was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on August 8, 1925 to the late Alfred and Mary Louise (Kelley) Rowse. He grew up in South Worcester and graduated from South High School in 1943. He was a Lieutenant during WWII serving as a navigator on B-17 bombers in the United States Army Air Corps.
He graduated in 1949 with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and from the Harvard Advanced Management Program in 1969. He joined Norton Company in 1949 as a Research Engineer and retired in 1984 as Corporate Vice President, Abrasives Division. He is named on over 50 patents throughout the business world and received many recognitions as a significant contributor to the abrasive industry. After the death of his first wife, Shirley in 1986 he continued working as a consultant to the company.
Bob had a love of sports from a young age and excelled on both the baseball and football fields as well as the basketball court. His simple routes meant work as was a paper boy for many years with the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and would tell those listening, he delivered papers during the hurricane of 1939. He played in many PGA member guests and had three hole-in-one achievements while playing in his 80's and consistently shot his age or under multiple times. He was a former member at Westborough Country Club, Worcester Country Club and Island Country Club where many years he served as Golf Chairman. He loved time on any course playing golf with his sons-in-law, Jim, Mat and Heinz.
He and Shirley moved to Shrewsbury in 1953 and raised their family on North Street. He religiously tended to his vegetable and flower gardens each year which yielded beautiful gladiolus and delicious beef steak tomatoes. Other favorite pastimes were fishing from his boat off Moody Beach in Maine and on the water off Cape Cod. The neighborhood kids always loved when he would take them water skiing on Lake Quinsigamond in Shrewsbury.
With a deep and abiding faith Bob was a life-long member of Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church in Worcester. Since the age of seven he sang in the Men and Boys' Choir and served for over thirty-five years as a member of the Vestry, Executive Committee and as Senior Warden. He served many years as a member of the Diocesan Council for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and was recently selected to receive its Meritorious Award for outstanding service and dedication to the Church. Bob volunteered for many years with Habitat for Humanity of Collier County.
He was a great guy who was easy to like with his affable demeanor, terrific sense of humor and quick, often sarcastic wit. His love for New England sports teams afforded family time and good conversation while analyzing the games with his sons-in-law. Bob loved his grandkids and time spent with them offering little tidbits of life advice when able. His love for his family made many happy memories with his wife, Diane together in Shrewsbury, Marco Island and Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
In addition to his wife of 30 years, Diane Jacklin Rowse, he leaves two daughters, Paula Buonomo (James) of Shrewsbury and Jo Ann DiPilato (Mathew) of Amherst, NH; his grandchildren Megan Blanchard (Paul) of Westford, James Buonomo (Erin) of Littleton, Erik DiPilato (Joslyn) of Tewksbury and Amy Heiderich (Felipe) of Jamaica Plain; his great-grandchildren Abby & Katie Blanchard, Jackson & Juliet Buonomo, Oscar & Max DiPilato, Anabel and Lucas Heiderich. He also leaves his step-daughters, Bobbi Martin (Paul) of Palm City, FL and Laurie Jacklin (Heinz Plessl) of Burlington, Ontario as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his first wife, Shirley (Erikson) Rowse, and his sister Sally Johnson, and infant son, James.
Family and friends will honor and remember Bob's life by gathering in St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 695 Southbridge Street, Worcester, on Friday, May 20, 2022 where his funeral service will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Burial will be held privately in Mountain View Cemetery at the convenience of the family. There are no calling hours.
In lieu of flowers memorial in Bob's name may be made to the Saint Matthew Episcopal Church, Memorial Fund, 695 Southbridge Street, Worcester, MA 01610.
Arrangements by James & John Heald.