OBITUARY

Ronald T Rowan

November 6, 1941January 27, 2021
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Ronald Thomas Rowan, 79, of Chula Vista, California, passed away unexpectedly on January 27, 2021. He began his journey in Bozeman, Montana, on November 6, 1941. Throughout his youth, his family lived in many Midwest states, as his father returned from serving in Europe during World War II and had an executive job managing a large department store chain. Ron, the oldest of six, became an accomplished athlete, particularly in track and field. While at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ron sprinted in the prestigious Penn Relays Carnival. He also excelled academically and ultimately graduated from Wichita State University (then Wichita University). It was in Wichita in 1962 that Ron met his first wife of 36 years, Kaye (Sponenberg). They eventually headed west to Colorado, where Ron completed his Juris Doctor at the University of Denver.

The next chapter began, and the family grew, as Ron and Kaye had three children: Heather, Nicholaus, and Matthew. They were also joined by Kaye’s parents, Lloyd and Jeanne Sponenberg. The setting was Colorado Springs, where Ron served the community as a City Attorney for Colorado Springs and then in the El Paso County District Attorney’s office, eventually becoming Assistant D.A. It was in those jobs where Ron not only grew professionally but also made lasting and life-long friendships. In 1980, Ron landed his dream job: General Counsel for the United States Olympic Committee. While he was able to combine two passions, law and sports, Ron also was able to leverage his adventurous spirit and travel the world, many times with his family. While at the USOC, Ron enjoyed the challenges, good and bad, as well as many friendships and professional relationships. He also established himself among the innovators of the emerging sports law profession. He served as a guest speaker and subject matter expert at numerous venues, including the prestigious University of Virginia School of Law.

Ron’s final chapter took him to southern California. There, he remarried, and Carol was the central person and his dedicated partner for the remainder of his life. Ron loyally devoted his life during this chapter to family and faith. A lifelong and committed Catholic, Ron grew even closer to God during this time and his family is comforted knowing he is now with The Lord. He would attend mass multiple times a week at the historic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Old Town, San Diego.

A survivor of two types of cancer, Ron’s fighting spirit lasted to his final days when he battled multiple health and illness complications. Just like he dealt with all experiences in life, Ron managed this time with strength and faith. Ron was comforted having Carol at his side at his time of passing.

Aside from being survived by Carol, his three children and their mother, Ron is survived by a large family, including six grandchildren: Kat and Elle (Heather’s children); Lila, Sam, Teddy, and Finn (Matthew’s children); two daughters-in-law: Joan (Nicholaus’ wife) and Erin (Matthew’s wife); a stepson, Daniel Robinson; three brothers: Patrick, Robert, and Michael; two sisters: Jane and Theresa; and a large number of cousins, nieces, nephews, and extended family.

Because of our difficult times when families and friends struggle to be together, Ron’s family asks you to celebrate his life and that any donations made in his honor go towards one of three organizations: Church of the Immaculate Conception in San Diego, California (https://immaculate-conception-sandiego.org/); Catholic Charities USA (https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/ways-to-give/); and St. Baldrick’s Foundation (https://www.stbaldricks.org/). Once it becomes safe to do so, a memorial will take place so that family, friends and loved ones may get together in remembrance of Ron and a celebration of his life. An online memorial, which includes service dates and times, may also be found at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/bonita-ca/ronald-rowan-10032698

Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, February 22, 2021

  • Funeral Service Church of the Immaculate

    Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Memories

Ronald T Rowan

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David Zook

February 16, 2021

I enjoyed working with Ron at the DA’s office. He was conscientious and very capable. A great public servant. He was also a determined, even reckless, driver of the basketball. Nothing, no one could stop his relentless pursuit of the layup. I learned to just get out of the way! My heart goes out to Ron’s family and his many friends.

Mike Harrigan

February 7, 2021

Knew Ron for more than 40 years and worked with him and, at times, "against him" many times. Always done by both of us with mutual respect and integrity. We are, of course, fellow Irishmen!!!

Ron will be missed. In recent years, after he left the US Olympic Committee, we continued to speak many times about issues of the day, historical and current "Olympic" matters and various "memories". Always enjoyable and memorable. I also got to visit him and his wife, Carol, in San Diego a few years ago.

Deepest sympathy to Carol and any other relatives.
Mike Harrigan

PERRY TOLES

February 1, 2021

Condolences to all of Ron's family and friends. "Señor Rowan" was a cherished advisor, mentor and friend. Lots of wonderful memories of Ron during my tenure on the USOC Membership & Credentials Committee (where he was the USOC Staff Liaison), like when the Committee was treated to a smudging ceremony in Santa Fe, NM prior to reviewing and ultimately approving the Native American Sports Council for USOC membership.

My favorite memory was when Ron watched me run the 1996 Olympic Torch in the Garden of the Gods Park near his home, and then sped me to the C-Springs Airport in his convertible Corvette to catch my flight all the while I was holding the torch up venting the remaining butane.

Ron cared deeply about his faith and his many friends. We often ended our frequent phone calls with giving each other a blessing. SO rest in peace Ronald T Rowan, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit. Amen

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