It is with great sadness that the family of Charles Jerome “Jerry” Rowe announces his passing on Thursday, June 20, 2019, at the young age of 72 years, surrounded by his family. Jerry put up a long, and often successful, battle against an impossible foe.
He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a true understanding of what was important - the simplicity of living a life with those you love. Jerry had many families, those by relation, and those he held close at heart, and who loved him for all he was willing to do for others. He was not the sort of person to simply pass through peoples’ lives, but instead left lasting memories. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 47 years, Sandy (Turner) Rowe; his son, Michael and his wife Kristin; his three grandchildren, Christopher, Gabriel and Lucian; his sister, Mary Jo (Rowe) Hernandez and her husband Nick Hernandez; his niece, Dori (Hernandez) Rutter and her husband Jeff Rutter; his nephew, Nick Hernandez; his great niece, Heather Hernandez and her husband Rich Frank, and many other family members and close friends.
The son of Clifton and Ruth Rowe, Jerry was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, and lived the entirety of his life in the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from Stadium High School in 1964, he attended the University of Puget Sound before being drafted into the Army during the Vietnam conflict. Upon returning from his military obligation, he finished his education with a bachelor’s degree in Business. He not only took pride in his work, but truly relished the friends he made during his time in business. It’s not surprising with his love of talking to people, friends and strangers alike, that he was an excellent salesman, working over the years for Mt. Hood Chemical, Boeing, and Blake Moffitt and Towne, before “retiring” from Block and Co. Jerry volunteered at local community outreach programs, where he mentored and sponsored many who were going through difficult times. He was very passionate about helping others and willing to counsel them or even visit, day or night. Volunteering even took him as far as Africa. He and his wife Sandy joined a group traveling to Zambia to support a community school, as well as help conduct the school’s first medical clinic for students. He forever cherished his time with Dwankhozi Hope.
Jerry met the love of his life, Sandy, in 1973, introduced by life-long friends. They were married in December of 1973 at Saint Leo’s church in Tacoma, Washington, with Jerry, at the height of fashion, sporting his red velvet jacket. Thus the two began an amazing adventure together that would continue until his passing. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved an adventure. He was a fisherman and hunter, and ever the explorer who loved white water rafting, hiking and cycling. Jerry was one of the last to raft the Tuttle River before the 1980 eruption at Mt. Saint Helens, and one of the first back on the river after the eruption. At 46, he was completing the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic and, at 62, he summited Mt. St. Helens. Only six months before his passing, he was kayaking the fiords of New Zealand.
As much as he loved a new adventure, Jerry was also perfectly content to sit back and read, play cards, and enjoy the quiet that life could also provide. Never one to pass up a good adventure story, Jerry also loved reading historical novels and had a particular fascination for early U.S. influential figures. Many of his friends and family enjoyed scavenging books from his seemingly always full “donation” basket.
Jerry would like to let you know that his work here is done. He received a call, a sort of an offer you can’t refuse, for an appointment from which he will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, a reunion with family and friends he has not seen in a long time. Job security is exactly 110 percent. His new mission takes him to a wonderful place where he will be socializing, dancing, gardening and reading to his heart’s content. Music, laughter and love are guaranteed. Food is delicious and you never gain an ounce. You never have to pay your cribbage tab, and the fish are always biting. He left detailed instructions for his family to celebrate his mission here, which has now been completed.
Others may not remember the details, but we know our lives were better for having him in it. A celebration of life was planned for August 10, 2019 in Lacey, Washington, with a private burial attended by close family and friends.