Robert Dale Rowan

July 15, 1928May 7, 2015

Robert Dale Rowan was born on July 5, 1928, one of 8 children to Milo LeGrand Rowan and Anna Ardella Jansson Rowan. He lived in the Merced area since 1955 and embraced the valley as his home with enthusiasm and joy. He was just shy of his 87th birthday. He was blessed to leave this world with his sweetheart of 80 years (Robert fell in love with his wife Donna in the second grade), Donna Arlene Boyle Rowan at his side, gently caressing his arm, an example of total and complete loyalty to the end of their earthly companionship.

Robert lived an exemplary life, anticipating with excitement each new day, optimistic at every new challenge and grateful for family and friends that filled his life with meaning and happiness. He served a faithful Latter-day Saint mission to the then Northern States Mission, and upon returning home married his longtime sweetheart, Donna Arlene Boyle in the Salt Lake City LDS temple on September 2, 1949.

Robert always felt a special responsibility to raise his 5 children with love and understading, certain that playing with and enjoying their company on a daily basis would bring him the most lasting fulfillment in life. His joy in his children is reflected in their love and appreciation for him. Robert was a dentist in in Merced for 49 years and loved his work. His patients came to appreciate his skill and especially his tender treatment of their needs. He loved the scouting program and all of his sons and grandsons earned the Eagle rank, a total of 21 Eagle Scouts! Every one of them enjoyed time with their dad and grandfather in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, camping, hiking and fly fishing. He served in numerous positions in the LDS church including Bishop, Stake President, Regional Representative, Temple Sealer and Stake Patriarch. One of the highlights of his life was serving, with Donna, as mission President of the Raleigh North Carolina mission for three years. A total of 26 missions have been served by Robert and his progeny over the span of the past 67 years. Robert loved to travel and to visit interesting places both in this country and in Europe. He was a voracious reader both of religious writings and of beloved western novels, reading over 150 books in the past three years alone. It was a particular joy to watch his favorite western movies with his children gathered around him, in the final days of his life.

Robert and Donna have loved gathering with their numerous posterity almost daily, as they have welcome 5 children, 25 grandchildren, and 35 great grandchildren (with two on the way) into their home. We are confident that he will be watching out for us in his heavenly home with as much joy as he has in his home here on earth.

As children of Robert Rowan we express gratitude to him for leaving us an honorable legacy that we have come to cherish in this life: for his abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a confidence that we are all on The Lord’s errand; for loving our mother faithfully, loyally, and with such serenity; for giving himself so completely to each of us, his children, making us feel we are the most important people in his life; for demonstrating for years that working hard is an ennobling part of life that builds character and “gives back to society”; that service, no matter how small and especially ‘unto the least of these’, enriches the soul; for the eternal truth that we should always “error on the side of compassion” when it came to loving others; for his willingness to ‘turn the other cheek’ and quickly forgive offenses; for his love of scripture as we recall his incredible capacity to memorize the word of God and teach it ‘nothing wavering’; for his ability to fix and build just about anything; for his imagination and creativity and the over 1,000 works of art from drawings, fused glass and stained glass creations that he readily shared; for his love of nature, flowers, animals, rivers, mountains, the sky, his beloved ocean view and his abiding faith that yes, ‘the earth rolls upon her wings… and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power’; for his smile, his infectious laugh, his sweet face filled with happiness, and his step forward to welcome us into his world so beautiful; and finally, for how eagerly he embraced each of us, enfolding us in his arms as we melted into his love for us.

We will miss the man, husband, father, and friend, who envisioned his life and created his destiny hand in hand with the Lord, welcoming the shaping into the man of God that he became. His creation-his life work, is a living, breathing part of who his is and who we have become, because of him. A man of family, a man of his children, a man of God.

He is survived by his wife, Donna Arlene Boyle Rowan; sons, Robert Creed Rowan, Richard Dale Rowan, Steven Mark Rowan, and Matthew Bart Rowan of Merced; daughter, Marie Rowan Hyer of Turlock; brothers, Marlon Rowan, LeGrand Rowan, and James Rowan; and sister, Betty Anthony, Ruth Draper Crockett.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Anna Ardella and LeGrand Milo, his brother, Blaine and his sister, Peggy Noorda.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the LDS Stake Center, 1080 East Yosemite Avenue, Merced, CA with Bishop Matthew Bart Rowan of the Merced CA First Ward officiating. The family will greet friends from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., at the stake center on the morning of the funeral services. Graveside services will be held immediately following the funeral at the Merced Cemetery District (Garden of Flora).

Robert enthusiastically supported the non-profit G3 Foundation, which is dedicated to humanitarian dental relief for the impoverished people of the Dominican Republic, a yearly effort to provide no cost dental care in the Barrios of the Dom, Repub. Your donations are welcomed: G3 Foundation c/o Matthew Rowan, 3351 M Street #210 Merced, CA 95348.


  • Funeral Service Saturday, May 16, 2015

Robert Dale Rowan

have a memory or condolence to add?

Fred Watkin

April 25, 2016

I just recently found out about the passing of President Rowan. I was also blessed to serve under him in the great North Carolina Raleigh Mission and was a witness to his spirituality and love of the Lord. I am forever grateful for his example and love for each of his missionaries.

I send my love to Sister Rowan and her family.

Elder Frederick Watkin
NCRM 1990 - 1992

Sherry Boothe

June 3, 2015

As I read through these tributes to Bob, Dr. Rowan, President Rowan, Bishop Rowan, Patriarch Rowan, I best know him as Dad Rowan. He has always shown me the love of a father that I have always wished for. I will miss our short, sweet talks. I love this family so much. I feel blessed to have them in my life. I love you Donna. You are special to me.

Lisa Hedquist-Dobbins

May 29, 2015

I was a missionary under President and Sister Rowan. They were wonderful to us and treated us with such respect and love. President Rowan was an amazing leader and example and I loved him very much. Sending my love to Sister Rowan.

Leon Jensen

May 28, 2015

President Rowan is one of the greatest men I have ever known. The impact he has had on my life is unmeasureable. His effect on people's lives is evident within his own family, not to mention the lives of those who served under him as missionaries in the North Carolina Raleigh Mission. He is a man like Captain Moroni as described in the Book of Mormon. His legacy will continue to live forever and I will be forever grateful for his influence, love, and compassion. My thoughts and prayers are with Sister Rowan. I know that our Heavenly Father is thrilled to have him home. Our eventual reunion will be joyous.

My love to President and Sister Rowan and their family.

Elder Leon K. Jensen
N.C.R.M. Missionary 1990-1992

Joe Jensen

May 25, 2015

President Rowan was/is such a wonderful man. He had a huge impact on me as a missionary and a person. My prayers go out to you Sister Rowan and pray that The Lord will be with you in this difficult time.

Edward Hegemann

May 25, 2015

President Rowan was my Mission President in North Carolina. He was not only an amazing Mission President but he was like a father to me. My father was not a member of the Church, President and Sister Rowan taught me so much about the gospel. I cherished every interview with him. Especially my final interview. His counsel directly influenced the girl I married! He exemplified everything the Savior taught. He truly was a portable sermon for us all. Sister Rowan you were "not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness (Hel. 11:19)" We still cherish the children's hymnbook you gave us when we were married.
My prayers will be with you and your family during this difficult time of transition. I know I speak for all of the missionaries when I say that your influence, and the influence of your husband will be felt throughout eternity.
All my love, admiration and appreciation,
Elder Ed Hegemann
N.C.R.M. Missionary 1989-1990

Al and Ann Ross

May 23, 2015

Dear Donna and Family, We recently just learned of Bob's passing, and we were so shocked and saddened. We know we were not close physically, but emotionally you and Bob are always in our hearts. May you be comforted at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Al and Ann Ross, Saint George, Utah

Frances Woodring

May 20, 2015

Growing up in Merced, we went to see doctor Rowan and he was the best dentist I ever saw! I am now 59 and still searching here in LA for a dentist who could hold a candle to Dr. Rowan. We were very poor, but he always treated us with kindness, dignity, and respect. I will never forget him.

Ruby Struble

May 19, 2015

I am saddened of the loss of a great man. Dr. Rowan was our family dentist for many years. My thoughts and prayers to the family.

Verneita Noe

May 18, 2015

Dr. Rowan was our family dentist for over 40 years. He was the best!!!!!! I still have the denture he made for me. We started with Dr. Rowan when he started his dental practice after he was out of the service.
My sympathy to the family.