Rancho Santa Fe community celebrates life of Roger Rowe

Between 700 and 800 people attended the memorial service and celebration of life for Roger Rowe on Saturday, March 31, at the Village Community Presbyterian Church. Dr. Rowe was a significant person in Rancho Santa for nearly half a century and either helped create or support nearly every organization Rancho Santa Fe enjoys today.

Long-term friend Rea Mowery, retired principal Glenda Sumida, current Superintendent Lindy Delaney and Roger Rowe’s son Carl Rowe covered his extensive service to the community, role as teacher, tenure as superintendent and character attributes that made him such a unique and special person.

Former student Kristen Brown sang “Once in a Lifetime,” an original song by her father and Village Church organist Jeff Brown, that she sang in 1987 at the Roger Rowe Roast and again at his retirement in 2001. Dr. Rowe loved Irish music and school nurse Helen Galvin sang “Danny Boy,” which he enjoyed hearing her sing on various occasions. The service began with the entry of a full military honor guard; it concluded with a gun salute, Taps and flag presentation to Mrs. Rowe from the guard.

It literary took a Village to pull the memorial celebration together and make it successful. The memory boards were filled with memorabilia provided from the Rowe family and were divided into stations covering his service to the school, community organizations, sports, family and personal interests.

Dozens of homemade cookies were donated by past parents of the Rowe School and The Inn provided beautiful and delicious displays of cheeses and fresh vegetables. Nearly 50 volunteers, clergy and staff members of the Village Church worked together to provide the service, program, set up, ushering, guest book signing and all of the arrangements for the reception following the service. The Association and Rancho Santa Fe Patrol planned and supervised an efficient and very successful shuttle service from town parking lots to the church. The system worked seamlessly and there were no parking problems or traffic congestion around the church. The Rotary helped with the parking in various locations and underwrote some of the parking expenses. The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation was instrumental in arranging for underwriting through various individuals and organizations and provided the flowers for the sanctuary and reception tables. Many individuals and organizations too numerous to name stepped up for Dr. Rowe’s memorial, and Rancho Santa Fe once again proved itself to be a fine community of caring individuals. — Anne Feighner

The program contained a blank memory page for attendees to write special stories or remembrances of Roger Rowe. If you did not fill one out at the memorial and would like to contribute to this memory book, please email them to They will be copied and included in the book.