J. Mike Rowan (1920 - 2019)

Service Information
Stewart Family Funeral Home - Tyler
7525 Old Jacksonville Highway
Tyler, TX
Thursday, Sep. 5, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Stewart Family Funeral Home - Tyler
7525 Old Jacksonville Highway
Tyler, TX 75703
Friday, Sep. 6, 2019
10:00 AM
Stewart Family Funeral Home - Tyler
7525 Old Jacksonville Highway
Tyler, TX 75703

J. Mike Rowan peacefully passed away Friday morning, August 30, 2019, at the age of 99. Services will be held to celebrate his long and successful life on Friday, September 6, 2019, at 10 a.m. in the Chapel at Stewart Family Funeral Home. Visitation with his friends and family will be on Thursday, September 5, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Stewart Family Funeral Home.

Mr. Rowan was born on his family's farm near the former community of Mars, Texas in Van Zandt County on June 15, 1920. His parents were Samuel N. Rowan and Stella Hobbs Rowan. Mike grew up on that same farm with his four sisters, Nell Rowan Slade, Sue Rowan Justice, Jean Rowan Saunders, and Joan Rowan Dixon. He attended the Arc Ridge School, where his parents also taught, for 8 years (1926-1934). He then attended and graduated at the age of 15 from Van High School in 1936. At the University of North Texas, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1940. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he served as a pilot in the United States Air Force from 1942-1946. He was discharged in 1946 as a Captain.

Mr. Rowan married Maurine Duncan Rowan in 1945, while stationed in San Angelo, Texas. At the end of the war, Mr. Rowan attended the University of Texas School of Law in Austin and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1949. Mr. Rowan became licensed to practice law in 1949 and practiced law for 70 years. Upon graduation from UT Law, he worked with both Houses of the Texas Legislature to write Legislation that created the Texas Veteran's Land Program, which provided low interest loans for Texas veterans to buy land. He became the Executive Director of the Texas Veterans Land Board in 1949 and closed the first loan of that agency to a veteran in Texas. In 1951, he became the Chief Attorney for the Texas General Land Office. Then, in 1952, he returned home to Athens, Texas and joined the firm of Justice, Justice & Rowan as a Partner until 1955. In 1955, he moved to Tyler and set up the Law Offices of J. Mike Rowan where he practiced for ten years. In 1965, he became a partner in Rowan & Davis, then later joining Loftis, Rowan & Files with Judge Harry Loftis and F.R. ""Buck"" Files, Jr. He was the President of the Smith County Bar Association in 1972-1973. In 1972, he was appointed by Governor Preston Smith to be the Judge of the Court of Domestic Relations in Smith County (now the 321st Judicial District Court). He later retired from the bench and returned to private practice. He was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and was named to Who's Who in American Law in 1982. In 1987, he was asked to serve on the American Advisory Committee of the U.S./ China Joint Session on the subject of Investment and Economic Law.

Mr. Rowan and his wife, Maurine, raised two children, Dr. Mike Rowan, Jr, and Martha Rowan Stafford. As was his tendency, he was very active in the community. He was a founding Member of Green Acres Baptist Church, where he served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Superintendent of the Sunday School Department. He was the President of the Mother Frances Hospital Advisory Board and remained an active and passionate advocate for the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System throughout his life. He served on the Tyler City Planning Commission for 7 years, was an active member of the Rose City Kiwanis Club (where he served as President) and Kiwanis International as the Laws & Regulations Chairman for the Texas-Oklahoma region. He was a member and served on the Boards of the Tyler Chamber of Commerce, Christian Record Braille Foundation, March of Dimes (where he served as County Chairman), Tyler Human Relations Council, Lighted Window, Inc., Texas Ex-Students Association, Cal Farley's Boy's Ranch, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Smith County Farm and Ranch Club, and the Henderson County Levee Improvement District. He was also the co-Founder of the East Texas Junior Miss Pageant. He particularly enjoyed serving as a judge and the Show Announcer for the Tyler Saddle Club, the East Texas Horse Show Association, the East Texas Riding Club Association and the Henderson County Livestock Exposition for many years.

In 2009, Mr. Rowan was awarded the Justinian Award from the Smith County Bar Association for outstanding community service, legal ethics, and professionalism.

Mr. Rowan is survived by his two children, Dr. Mike Rowan, Jr. and wife Margaret of Tyler, and Martha Rowan Stafford of Tyler; his four grandchildren, Matt Rowan and wife Kathryn of Tyler, Jon Rowan and wife Andrea of Tyler, Will Stafford and wife Tiffany of Houston, and Mandy Stafford Nielson and husband Adam of Alexandria, Virginia; his seven great-grandchildren who he greatly loved, Caroline Rowan, Michael Rowan, Elizabeth Rowan (2010-2014), Piper Rowan, and Landry Rowan, of Tyler, Charlotte Stafford and Tucker Stafford, of Houston; many extended family he cherished; and myriad dear friends who he considered as family.

A special thank you from the family to Quincy Mitchell for his dedicated care.

Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Sept. 1, 2019
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