PLYMOUTH — Philip Allison Rowe, Jr., USAF Colonel (Ret.), passed away May 10, 2020, at the age of 87.
He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 3, 1932, to Julie Vinks Rowe and Philip Allison Rowe. Much of his childhood was spent on Governor’s Island on Lake Winnipesauke near Laconia, NH, before his family relocated to Newport News, Virginia. There he met his future wife, Marilyn Jean Thompson, at Newport News High School, from which they graduated in 1950. After attending Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Phil joined the U.S. Air Force in 1952. In 1954 he and Jean married in Waco, Texas.
He completed a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University in 1967. During his time in the Strategic Air Command, Phil flew as Master Navigator in B-58, B-52, RF-4, and other aircraft, including more than 100 reconnaissance missions out of Saigon in 1968-69 and received the Distinguished Flying Cross. After serving in the Systems Program Office for B-1 bomber development at Wright Patterson AFB in Fairborn, Ohio, from 1970-74, and engineering for the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) in Bedford, Massachusetts, from 1974-75, Phil retired from the Air Force in 1975. He and Jean built a home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they resided until her passing in 2015. In 2017 Phil moved to Monroe, Washington, where he spent his remaining days.
Phil loved outdoor adventures, especially camping and kayaking. Relocations and family vacations meant visits to many national parks and state campgrounds. Phil and Jean took many long driving trips through the U.S. and Canada, putting his kayak into any available body of water. The travel bug extended beyond road trips, as Phil and Jean enjoyed visiting Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Nova Scotia, and several vacations in Europe. Phil enjoyed tinkering and inventing labor-saving devices. He was also a devoted author, writing about flying, traveling, and childhood days. Many of these stories he turned into eBooks for Amazon.
Phil is survived by daughter Katherine Rowe (Monroe, Washington), daughter Charlotte Rowe (Santa Fe, New Mexico); brother Cyrus Rowe (Gastonia, North Carolina); and grandchildren Laura Fox (Tacoma, Washington) and Ryan Fox (Monroe, Washington).
His ashes will be placed with military honors alongside those of his beloved Jean in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.