George A. Rowley was born at home on April 18th, 1927, near Ringwood in Major County, Oklahoma and died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on January 31, 2013, at the age of 85. George married his high school sweetheart, Alice Fern Doll, in 1946 following his discharge from the Navy in WWII. George was a loving and compassionate son to his parents and a generous and loving husband and father. He was a hardworking, competitive, yet congenial person of high moral character who had many friends throughout the country. He was a people person and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. He and Fern loved traveling and did so extensively throughout the United States and abroad after their retirement.
George graduated from Ringwood High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State College in Alva, OK, his master’s from Philips University in Enid, OK, and his doctorate in Education from Oklahoma State University. He served as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent of schools in Oklahoma for a total of 39 years, with 37 of those years as a superintendent at Blackwell, Perkins, Coyle, and Crawford. He retired in 1988 after 15 years as superintendent of Edmond Public Schools.
During his long and distinguished career in education, George influenced and touched the lives of countless students, colleagues, and community members. He received many honors and accolades during his career as an educator, including induction into the OSU College of Education Hall of Fame. He held various offices and positions in the American and Oklahoma Associations of School Administrators, and the Oklahoma and Oklahoma County Retired Educators Associations. He was awarded the Very Important Member honor by the OCREA. George was a valued member of the Edmond community and was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Edmond Chamber of Commerce in 1987. He served on the Edmond Arts and Humanities council, Friends of the Symphony committee, and chaired the YMCA Sustaining Membership drive. George steered the growth of the Edmond Public Schools with a steady and visionary hand from 1973 to 1988. In 2009, he was honored by the Edmond Senior Community Foundation as one of five Senior Citizens of the Year.
He was an honorary lifetime member of the Edmond Educational Endowment and a long-time Presbyterian, attending and serving as deacon, elder, and on various committees of Presbyterian churches in Stillwater, Blackwell, and Edmond.
George was preceded in death by his parents, George and Beulah Rowley, and his brothers, Gene, Joe, and Bill Rowley. He is survived by the love of his life, Fern, of the home; his sons Jerry and wife Linda of Stillwater; Kenny of Okmulgee; Robert and wife Karla of Edmond; and daughter Valli and husband Gus Rallis of Edmond. He is also survived by six grandchildren, fourteen great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved deeply. He is also survived by his sister Peggy and her husband LM Sullivan of Edmond; sister-in-law Willa Mae Rowley of Mustang; and sister-in-law Mary Lou Rowley of Portales, NM.
The family would like to express its sincere gratitude and appreciation to the staff and caregivers at Touchmark at Coffee Creek in Edmond for the excellent care they provided. If desired, in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the OSU College of Education for scholarships in memory of George A. Rowley.
Public visitation will take place at Matthews Funeral Home, 601 S. Kelly, Edmond, OK, from 12:00 noon until 9:00 PM on Tuesday, February 5th, and from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM Wednesday, February 6th. Funeral services will be held Thursday, February 7th, at 2:00 PM at the First Christian Church of Edmond, 201 E. 2nd Street, with graveside services to follow at Gracelawn Cemetery.
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