Richard G. McGowan Sr., 90

FEB. 21, 1922-APRIL 4, 2012

April 04, 2012
  • McGowan

Richard George McGowan Sr., 90, of Fahrney Keedy Home and Village and formerly of Smithsburg, Md., passed away Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at Fahrney Keedy Home.

Born Feb. 21, 1922, in Waukegan, Ill., he was the son of the late Robert Melvin and Rose Bell (Avery) McGowan.

He served in the U.S. Merchant Marine from March 1944 to April 1947. It was while he was in the Merchant Marine that he contracted polio. After several years in the Marine Hospital in Baltimore, Md., and with physical and occupational therapy, he was discharged and able to return to work — first as an aircraft mechanic at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., and then as an electronic technician at NASA Goodard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. He retired from NASA in 1979 and moved to Smithsburg.

He enjoyed traveling and camping. He and his wife got to see and enjoy all of the United States except for Hawaii and Alaska. He especially enjoyed the northern part of California.

He was a Ham Radio operator, known across the airwaves as W3VUT. He spoke with people all over the world.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Florence "Gertrude" (Frazier) McGowan, whom he married Oct. 12, 1941, in Mount Rainer, Md.; two daughters, Rosemarie Roberts and husband, Bernie, of Waynesboro, Pa., and Nellie Catts of Gettysburg, Pa.; one son, Richard George McGowan Jr. and wife, Susan, of Smithsburg; seven grandchildren, Michael Roberts and wife, Andrea, Jeanne DeGennaro and husband, John, Thomas Roberts, Jim Roberts, Darryl Catts and wife, Debra, Darrin Catts and wife, Susan, and Tammy L. McGowan; three stepgrandchildren, Garry Bressler, Alaina Poss and husband, Thomas, and Jason Bressler; nine great-granddaughters, Laura and Emily DeGennaro, Michelle, Christiahna and Jeanine Roberts, Taylor, Sydney and Gabrielle Catts, and Deahna McGowan.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Robert C. McGowan in October 1981 and Ronald M. McGowan in July 2009; and one son-in-law, Harry Delaney Catts Jr. in April 2009.

Services will be held Saturday, April 7, 2012, at 2 p.m. at J.L. Davis Funeral Home, Smithsburg, with Pastor Virgil Cain officiating. Burial will be in Smithsburg Cemetery. The family will receive friends Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Washington County, 747 Northern Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21742; or Fahrney Keedy Home, 8507 Mapleville Road, Boonsboro, MD 21713.

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