Skip to content

Robert “Bob” Henry Rowland

Robert “Bob” Henry Rowland

1926-2021

Robert “Bob” Henry Rowland, born January 20, 1926, at Sibley Hospital, Washington, D.C., passed away at his home suddenly on February 21, 2021.

He was married to his High School sweetheart, Marian Frances Michael Rowland, who passed away in March 2011, both of whom were BSHS graduates, Class of 1943. They married the following year and Bob enlisted in the Merchant Marines (later, the Merchant Marines came under the auspices of the U.S. Coast Guard).

Bob had moved with his family to Berkeley Springs in the summer of 1941, when he was a “Junior,” because his father accepted a pastor position at Frances Asbury Methodist Church. After returning from the war, jobs were scarce in Berkeley Springs, so Bob and his wife relocated to Baltimore where he worked at Bethlehem Steel, Yellow Cab Company, and as a “repo” employee. Additionally, he held jobs at a finance company and a company that lined parking lots and did tennis court resurfacing. The latter job provided bonus travel to Hawaii and England.

He was the jigsaw puzzle master and was working on a 1,000-piece puzzle which was spread out on a card table. He also enjoyed daily puzzles in the Herald Mail newspaper which also contained articles by his nephew Tim Rowland, which he then clipped and sent weekly to Tim’s mother, former Berkeley Springs resident, Martha “Marcy” Rowland, who lives with Tim’s brother Bruce and wife Mary on Lake Champlain, Plattsburg, New York.

He was an avid reader, primarily of non-fiction works and whenever he wanted to read a particular book that the Berkeley Springs Library didn’t have, he would purchase it, read it, and then donate it to the Library. He was a great storyteller and had much to say about each and every job he had held and the folks he encountered along the way.

His most salient characteristic was his sense of humor which became his mantra for enjoying life. In addition, Bob was the consummate “Volunteer,” not only at the Food Distribution center known as MCEAT (Morgan County Emergency Assistance Team) but at the American Legion Post 60 in Berkeley Springs. He was the Wednesday night BINGO “caller” for over ten years, as well as a volunteer for the many lunches, dinners and other functions held by the Legion over the years. Many Legion visitors could see him working on Friday evenings in the Canteen washing dishes. This latter job, he finally “retired” from in January 2021.

While his wife Marian was in the Berkeley Springs Nursing Home, he also volunteered to oversee Bingo games for the residents.

Other pastimes included fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, tennis in his younger years and golfing up until his late 80s. Bob also enjoyed playing card games, especially poker and 8-ball pool. Another passion was gardening and lawn care, which he did at his daughter’s home on Duckwall Road up until the Fall of 2019.

To say that he was loved and admired by his fellow man was an understatement. He was a humble man who didn’t like much attention, but enjoyed being around people to share his many stories and his sense of humor.

His wife, Marian, predeceased him in 2011.

He is survived by his two daughters, Ann Harry of Pasadena, Maryland and Patricia Keys of Berkeley Springs; his four grandchildren: Linda Harry Rafferty (husband: Sean) of Woodstock, Maryland; Michael Harry (wife: Maria) of Apex, North Carolina; Beth Keys Shockley of Cambridge, Maryland; Sandra Keys of Berkeley Springs; eight great-grandchildren: Hannah Shockley, Jason Herbert, Jr., Amanda Herbert and Cassidy Shockley, all of Cambridge, Maryland; Kathryn Rafferty of Glen Burnie, Maryland and Erin Rafferty of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jordan Harry and Megan Harry of Apex, North Carolina; as well as two step-great-grandchildren: Sam Heaton and Conley Heaton, both of Apex, North Carolina. In addition, he is survived by many nieces and nephews, and many, many friends!

A Celebration of Life will be private for the Family.

However, Post 60 of the American Legion is planning a tribute at a time to be announced in the near future.

Bob opted to donate his body to the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, West Virginia.