Fitzhenry’s Funeral Home

3945 Fairview Drive, Carson City, NV


Michael P. McGowan

December 12, 1958May 27, 2019

It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Michael Patrick McGowan, age 60. He was born December 12, 1958 in Red Bluff, CA and died May 27, 2019 of cardiac arrest at his home in Reno NV.

In 1982, he married the love of his life, Paige Elizabeth Wilcks. They were married for 37 years and had two children, Brianne and Tom.

Mike attended Red Bluff High School where he excelled in football and basketball and was recruited to play football at the University of Nevada where he played under Chris Ault (1977-1981). During the 1978 regular season their team went undefeated and reached No. 1 in the nation for the first time in program history.

After college, Mike went to work for the Lakeridge Golf Course, and then for William Pennington on his private golf course. From there, he went to work for the Washoe County School District as a grounds keeper at Wooster High School, then ended at Sparks High School.

Mike began his coaching career at Reed High School, coaching the Varsity football team. He also coached at Wooster High School, where he was able to coach his son, Tom, for four years. When his daughter, Brianne, started competing in softball, Mike coached many years with the Reno Bobby Sox League and in 1996, he coached the Reno Dream Team, winning the Bobby Sox National Championship. Mike then began helping coach travel softball. The High Sierra Diamonds traveled all over the country, placing as high as third place during one of the ASA National Championships. In his later coaching years, Mike joined the Nevada Comets organization. He influenced and helped pave the path for many young athletes into their collegiate athletic dreams.

Mike will be dearly missed by all those who loved him and will never be forgotten.

Mike was preceded in death by his father, Jim McGowan, his mother, Bette McGowan, and his sister, Kathleen Lammay.

Mike is survived by his wife, Paige McGowan, daughter Brianne Durfee (Brandon), son Tom McGowan (Amanda), two grandchildren Connor Durfee and Kaitlyn Durfee, his sisters Mickey Behnke, Colleen Hollar, and Patty McGowan and numerous nieces and nephews.

Memorial will be held at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, located at 100 Bishop Manogue Drive, at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 14, 2019.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a local youth softball organization to keep his passion of getting local young athletes to achieve their dreams. Sierra Girls Softball P.O. Box 10875 Reno, NV 89510


  • Memorial Mass Friday, June 14, 2019


Michael P. McGowan

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tammy Manke

June 3, 2019

Paige, Brianne, Tom & family,
I am so sorry for your loss. This is a sad time...I know. But one day you too will see your loved one again. Praying for you.
RIP Mike.
-Tammy Manke

Jenne James (Bator)

June 2, 2019

Mike was such a kind man and a passionate coach. I can hear his laugh when he would catch for us, sitting on the bucket, laughing whenever our ball would move on him. He loved the game fiercely and loved his family even more. One of the greats obviously taken too soon. I will miss you coach Mike.

Cozi Cook

June 1, 2019

So glad I was lucky enough to play for you & get to know you. You made the game I already loved so much, more enjoyable to play! You were always so positive & never gave up on anyone. You were truly, one of the best people I have ever met in my life, so genuine and so kind. Thank you for everything you have ever done for me, and everybody. Thank you for always being kind, thanks for being you. You’ll be missed. Love you Mike.

Mickey Behnke

June 1, 2019

What can I say about the loss of my little brother. I have no words for the grief and pain but I know all who knew Mike are feeling the same grief and pain.
Mike grew up with four sisters. As we grew older Mike became our guardian and comfort guy. Always their with his smile and laugh. We recently lost our oldest sister and Mike was calling to make sure everyone was doing ok or if we needed to talk. He took his job as our brother seriously.
He loved Paige, Brianne, Brandon, Tom, Amanda, Connor, and Kaitlyn with such passion. The Wilkes family were so kind to him over the years and they became his Reno family. I want to thank you all for loving him as much as his McGowan family.
All his friends, Merle and Tim, and so many more are going to miss him.
Love you Mikey

Michon Otuafi (Jeanney)

June 1, 2019

I have so many fond memories of Mike McGowan. What wasn’t there to love about a benevolent giant? I met Mike when I was probably 8 or so years old. The first time I knew he had a big heart was when he had to pull me from the mound after pitching a tough game. As he walked out, the tears in my eyes started to well up, and then I noticed the big crocodile tear running down his cheek. I don’t know who was having a harder time, me or him. As we got older and played for the Diamonds, Mike was one of our three main coaches. The other two were maniacs, but in a good way; they kept us on our toes and disciplined, but Mike was our colossus of happiness. He would greet me every single Saturday morning with “It’s a great day to be alive, Seany.” I can still hear his voice. Recently I’ve been able to catch up with him at the baseball fields where my boys play. We had the opportunity to laugh about the “good ol’ days.” I cherish the time I got to spend with him. This world has lost a magnificent man. I will sure miss him. Thank you, Brianne, Paige, and Tom for sharing him with so many; he has definitely left a mark on many people’s hearts.

Sherina Garcia

June 1, 2019

So heart breaking to hear of this news. I remember Mike as gentle giant, so kind and welcoming! It was a joy to see his smile out cheering on Bri and the rest of our team! Bri was such a great teammate and I’m sure a lot of those qualities she got from her Dad. Sending prayers and hoping that at this time you all are flooded with precious memories of Mike!