John Miller Rowley, 92,WWII Navy Veteran

Written by Brust Funeral Home on October 8th, 2012

John Miller Rowley, 92,WWII Navy Veteran and beloved husband and father, passed away peacefully on Saturday, 6th October 2012 in Lombard, Illinois.  He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Mary, his two daughters, Jenneine Rowley-Gilroy of Lombard, Illinois, and Mary Beth Rowley of Michigan City, Indiana, as well as his twin brother, Charles Rowley of Boise, Idaho, his sister, Mary Trout Maupin of Ft. Worth, Texas, and many dearly loved nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents, John Nathan and Lillian Viola Rowley, brother Guy Clifford Rowley, sister Juanita Eloise Nee, and brother Thomas Calvin Rowley.

John was born 26 August 1920 in Warsaw, Illinois, one of six children born to John Nathan and Lillian Viola Rowley, and grew up in Burlington, Iowa.  He graduated from high school in Burlington, Iowa, and after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, he and his twin brother enlisted in the U.S. Navy.  He served in WWII,  Pacific Theatre/Hawaii, and was honorably discharged in 1945 at the rank of Aviation Machinist Mate, Second Class.  Prior to attending college at the University of Oklahoma on the G.I. Bill, John played baseball as a pitcher for the Cubs Triple-A farm system.  He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. degree in Journalism, earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Iowa, and completed doctoral-level courses in Sociology at the University of Iowa and Northern Illinois University.  John taught at various junior and senior high schools in both Iowa and Illinois, including Donnellson Junior High School and Senior High School, Donnellson, Iowa, and served as the sport information director at Western Illinois University before he found his niche teaching English, social studies, and journalism at Willowbrook High School, Villa Park, Illinois.  He also was the long-time advisor of the Willowbrook Skyline newspaper and both started and sponsored the Lombard YMCA Willowbrook High School and Glenbard East High School chapters of the YMCA Youth In Government program.  John taught at Willowbrook for 18 years and retired in 1986.  He was recognized with many honors and awards throughout his long professional career.  He continued to substitute teach several years thereafter.

John had numerous talents and interests, and led a very full and joyous life.  He was a writer and substitute editor at The Lombardian, Lombard, Illinois for eight years. He was an avid gardener, keen fisherman, loved music, loved animals, volunteered with several community and charitable organizations, was a member of the American Legion, and enjoyed politics and current affairs, but most of all, John was devoted to his family and to his church home, the Lombard Church of the Nazarene.  He participated in Bible study, Upwards Basketball, and served on the Church Board for several terms.  John was all about his family; he and his wife, Mary, were married on 5th June 1955 in Donnellson, Iowa, and counted as one of their most treasured memories their 50th Golden Anniversary party held at Lombard Church of the Nazarene in 2005.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, 10 October 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Brust Funeral Home, 135 South Main Street, Lombard, Illinois  60148 (630-629-0094).  The memorial service will be held on Thursday, 11 October 2012 at the Lombard Church of the Nazarene, 536 N. Columbine Avenue, Lombard, Illinois (630-627-9444), where he will lie in state from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for visitation, with the service commencing at 10:00 a.m.  John will be laid to rest with military honors at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, Illinois, following the church service.


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Marilyn Klingler Ware says:

    MR. Rowley was the address although he became a “neighbor and cousin in law” by marrying Mary Weber. He indeed did inspire many youth to better work. I was one of them in eighth grade in Donnellson. I am grateful for his diligence in teaching for so many years. May his family rejoice in his new journey, Marilyn

  2. Fran Hedblade says:

    Mary not sure you will remember me but my husband Jack Hedblade the photographer at WIU and John became friends. I remember you home on S. Randolph St. My son played with your girls there and was so envious of their wild animal collection. His name was Jock. I also believe we went to a park in Iowa somewhere on Sat. or Sun. together. I’m sorry to hear of John’s death. I’m hoping you and the girls are in good health.
    Just wanted to let you know I just got word of John’s death and wanted to tell you I’m thinking about you. My e-mail is

  3. Tom Rottmann says:

    Me. Rowley was a good person. I had the incredible opportunity to know him by dating his daughter Mary Beth. The begs time of my life. In high school I hacked a pregnant friend who john helped get through school. A good person. A great man. Will always be a great part of my life. May god bless his family.

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