Marsha Jean McGowan

August 4, 1950June 4, 2021

Marsha Jean McGowan, who famously told her commanding officer to come back in a half an hour because she was not ready for inspection, died at Regional West Medical Center June 4, 2021, in Scottsbluff, NE.

She was born to Clifford Adrian & Margaret Isabel (Hoyle) Huntley on August 4, 1950, in the historic village of Ticonderoga, NY. She had an idyllic childhood in the Adirondack Mountains on the shores of Lake George, graduating from Ticonderoga High School in 1968. She attended a presentation by the local United States Air Force recruiter to lend moral support to a friend and enlisted in October 1968. Marsha was the Honor Graduate in her Basic Training class at Sheppard Air Force Base, TX, graduating in 1969. Marsha worked as a Medical Service Specialist helping to deliver babies. Her first duty station was with the 551st Hospital at Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts. There she met James Carter McGowan when her Ford Mustang broke down. They were married at the First Baptist Church in her hometown on November 22, 1969. Marsha served in the military when women could be married but not become pregnant. She was honorably discharged December 24, 1970. She gave birth to her daughter, Angela Coleen, June 1971, at Little Rock Air Force Base and gave birth to her son, Matthew William Carter McGowan, March 1973, at Incirlik Common Defense Installation, Adana, Turkey. Her own military career over, Marsha embraced the role of military wife. Moving household eleven times stateside and overseas. She was resilient and lived by the motto, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” Her faith sustained her through many rough patches. When her husband retired from the Air Force in 1989, Marsha was given a citation at his retirement ceremony for her contribution to the mission. She was an avid reader, gregarious, and never met a stranger.

Marsha held many jobs over the years. Most interesting were Tupperware consultant, apple sorter, and noon-duty aide at her children’s school. She pursued higher education at the American River College in Sacramento, CA and Anchorage Community College in Anchorage, AK. After her children left home, she went back to school graduating with her Practical Nursing degree from Western Nebraska Community College in 1999. She moved with her husband to Grand Island, NE where she cared for veterans at the Grand Island Veterans Home for 6 ½ years. Returning to the panhandle in 2005, Marsha worked for Northfield Retirement Communities until she contracted a rare form of herpes simplex encephalitis in March 2007. Marsha beat the odds and survived but lived as an invalid for the rest of her life being lovingly cared for by her husband. When Jim died suddenly on May 11, 2021, Marsha could not live without him and began her quick journey to join him. Marsha was preceded in death by her husband of 51 ½ years, her parents, eldest sister Linda Baluka and infant sister Sharon Huntley. She is survived by her daughter Angela Barnard (Dan) of Meridian, Mississippi, and son Matthew (Karen) of Banner County, Nebraska; grandchildren Ivan James and Iris Ansley Barnard and Breana Kate McGowan; sister Ellen Angell (Bob) of Fairbury, IL, and cousin Pam Petty of Port Henry, NY. Also survived by her sisters and brothers-in-law Thomas Baluka of Thomasville, NC, Joan Ruth Ginther and Lynora Van Winkle (Jerry) of Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada, Patricia McGowan of Midland, TX, Ward McGowan (Karen) of Kimball, Nebraska, Judy McGowan (Larry Bailey), of Frederick, Colorado, and Richard McGowan (Donna) of Banner County, Nebraska. A plethora of nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at Dugan-Kramer Funeral Home from 4-7pm. Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 10, 2021, at Bible Baptist Church, 2023 Avenue C, Scottsbluff, Nebraska at 11 am. Burial with military honors at Kirk Cemetery, Banner County, Nebraska to follow at 2 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Banner County Volunteer Fire & Rescue, P.O. Box 93, Harrisburg, Nebraska. Online condolences may be left at


  • Ivan Barnard, Pallbearer
  • Iris Barnard, Pallbearer
  • Breana McGowan, Pallbearer
  • Bonnie Woolsey, Pallbearer
  • Roger Lee McGowan III, Pallbearer
  • Heidi Draper, Pallbearer
  • Ellen Angell, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Pam Petty, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Tiffany Baluka-Curry, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Lisa Scuffell, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Judy McGowan, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Dr. Michelle Cheloha, Honorary Pallbearer


  • Visitation

    Wednesday, June 9, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, June 10, 2021

  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, June 10, 2021


Marsha Jean McGowan

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ellen Angell

June 25, 2021

Marsha was my big sister....and I was her shadow. I followed her everywhere and wanted to be just like her. I was so proud of her when she went in the military, although sad at the same time because I was 8 yrs old . I cried and cried when we dropped her off for Basic and drove away home. I have fond memories of our growing up that will carry me til I see her again. Marsha always had a smile and her laugh was contagious!
We sang around the piano together with our Dad and Marsha would sing off key on purpose and get us all laughing......How I miss those times!
Love you Marsha forever and always!

Angela Bennett

June 9, 2021

Ellen, Angela, Mathew and All McGowan and Huntley family,

I was just a sprig of a girl when I first met Marsha. She was home, then, with her two small children, and was able to spend some time in her hometown. With us, family, friends and members of the First Baptist Church of Ticonderoga. She always had a smile for you, no matter what came. And I can still remember, and picture, her laugh.

She is in heaven now, with our Lord and Savior. And with those who have gone before us. Dear Ellen, can't you just picture them all in a choir together? God bless you all.

Love in Christ,
Angela Bennett

Frederick Vradenburg

June 8, 2021

Marsh was a life long friend, neighbor, classmate!!! We choose different roads but our roads crossed a few times. I had the honor of attending her wedding to Jim and seeing the Happiness on their faces at the ceremony. I believe that happened again in Heaven when they were reunited. RIP my FRIEND!!!!!