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Obituary: Douglas Louis Rowan (1953-2023)

Douglas Louis Rowan (Age 70)
Memorial service info

‘Birds sing out of tune and rain clouds hide the moon.’

Douglas “Doug” Louis Rowan, passed away suddenly on July 15, 2023, while visiting family on the New Jersey shore. Doug was born in Washington, D.C on January 26, 1953, to Edward and Nancy Rowan who preceded him in death.

Doug grew up in Arlington, VA and attended Ashlawn Elementary, Kenmore Junior and Washington and Lee High schools. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned a Master’s degree in Education. He then returned to Arlington where he began teaching social studies to high school students with special needs for the Fairfax County Public Schools.

As a boy, outside of school, Doug was either riding his bike, listening to music, swimming at Powhatan Springs pool or playing tennis. He went on to play varsity tennis in high school. Behind his easy-going demeanor Doug was a fierce competitor on the court. In his fifties he contracted a partially disabling disease that ended his tennis playing, but not his swimming which he did just about every day. Doug loved music, the beach, watching the sunset, biking, old movies, Bon Air rose garden, seeing fireworks, going to see the cherry blossoms and reading the newspapers he called a history book.

Doug was a great conversationalist and could regale friends or strangers for hours. His relentless off-the-wall sense of humor would leave people laughing so hard they could hardly breathe. With his magnetic personality he made friends easily and with his true-blue loyalty he cultivated lifelong friendships. He made the lives of people he met along life’s journey better for having met him. He played the guitar and somehow managed to win free concert tickets from radio contests knowing the lyrics to all genres. Like many, Doug had his challenges. He spent months beating stage four cancer, but you’d never know it. Doug was always optimistic and living in the brighter side of life.

Doug is survived by his life partner Kathy Burke McKeon, brother George Rowan, M.D., sister in-law Kathy Rowan, sister, Nancy Milam, nephews Thomas Rowan and Doug Milam, his extended family, Jim, Mary Jean, Katie, Patrick and Amanda Burke, and numerous friends.

Doug was a passionate liberal and proud union member (AFT) and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, a proud member of Theta Delta Chi Fraternity, and a proud lifelong Arlingtonian. He enjoyed traveling the world with Kathy—and winter visits to Florida to swim. Doug will be sorely and greatly missed by everyone who was lucky enough to call him friend.

Funeral Arrangements by Murphy Funeral Home, 4510 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22203

Visitation: Sunday, July 23, 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM

Celebration of Life: Westover Baptist Church Monday, July 24, 11-12 PM

Burial: National Memorial Park Monday, July 24, 1-2 PM

Submitted by Murphy Funeral Home Arlington

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