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Coach Rowe passes away on January 26

Former students, friends and fellow church members were sad to learn last week that John R. Rowe, Sr., had passed way on January 26, 2021. Coach Rowe as he is fondly known around the Tri-County area would have turned 87, on February 4.
Coach Rowe was born in Tallahassee, Florida, the seventh child of William Hugh Rowe and Daphne Elizabeth Coward Rowe. He grew up in Tallahassee, showing early entrepreneurial instincts by out-hustling other boys who sold newspapers downtown. He also showed early promise in coaching, by organizing and playing on championship basketball teams in the Tallahassee city leagues starting in junior high. He graduated from Leon High School, and then from Florida State with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1957.
Coach Rowe first moved to Gilchrist County in 1958, coaching at Bell High School. He returned briefly to Tallahassee, but came back to this area in 1962 to coach at Trenton High School. He coached at those schools as well as in Bronson and Williston schools until his retirement.
He attributed his success in life to adults who invested time in him as he was growing up. Those caring adults included his family, teachers, Sunday School leaders, Scout masters, and basketball coaches. He then invested his life in young people, both as a devoted father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, as well as a teacher and coach.
For over 50 years, he coached basketball, football, baseball, and track, but his first love was always basketball. Even after retirement, he coached the girls’ basketball teams at Bell and offered insights to coaches and teams around the region. His teams won many championships, but more importantly, his players learned life lessons in teamwork, discipline, and perseverance. He demanded excellence, but he also enjoyed joking with friends.
Long respected as a leader in the community, Coach Rowe received the Min Ayers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 from the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce. In 2019, the basketball court at the original Trenton gym, now at the Trenton Elementary School, was named the “Coach John R. Rowe, Sr., Court” in his honor. During the court dedication one of his former students, Holt Browning said, “Coach Rowe made a huge difference in a lot of young men’s lives. He made better men out of us.” Coach Rowe was known throughout his lifetime as a Christian gentleman. He was respected by many in this community and he will be missed.
He was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church in Trenton, where he sang in the choir in earlier years. Coach Rowe resided with his wife, Nancy Rowe in Bell.
The family request that donations be made to the John R. Rowe Scholarship, with checks made to the Education Foundation of Gilchrist County, P.O. Box 1816, Trenton, FL 32693, or donations can be made directly at Capital City Bank.