Major Robert William Gowin

February 2, 1929June 7, 2018

Major Robert “Bob” William Gowin, US Army (Retired), a native of Cattaraugus, New York, passed peacefully on June 7, 2018. He is preceded in his passing by his loving wife of 49 years, Rebecca Fox Gowin, and survived by his only daughter, Vicki Ann Gowin, eighteen nieces and nephews, and a host of friends near and far whom he held dear.

Major Gowin served in military intelligence throughout his career with the U.S. Army, from December 1950 until his retirement in March 1972. Detailed to the Central Intelligence Agency from March 1951 through March 1959, he served in Washington, D.C., and Ankara, Turkey. In April of 1959 he was assigned to the Office of the U.S. Army Attaché to Havana, Cuba, until October 1960 when, as a result of strained relations with the newly-formed regime of Fidel Castro, the American Embassy began the evacuation of all military and civilian personnel.

During the remainder of his service, Major Gowin served several tours in Washington, D.C., two tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and he served as an Operations Officer in J-2, MACV, Saigon, Vietnam (1968-1969). After his service in Vietnam, Maj. Gowin returned to Washington, D.C., where he served as the principal liaison officer between an elite U.S. Army Intelligence unit and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Major Gowin's military decorations include the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Upon retirement from the military in 1972 he was employed by George Mason College (later to become George Mason University) in Fairfax, VA, as its first Director of Safety & Security. In this position he established the first written General Orders detailing policies and procedures to be followed by campus police officers. He also established the program that allowed campus police officers to receive professional training at the Fairfax County Police Department training facilities in Fairfax.

Major Gowin resigned from his position at GMU in 1974 for a position with the federal government. He served as a property management official at the Food and Drug Administration from 1974 to 1976; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1976 to 1980; and the Department of Justice from 1980 until his retirement in 1992. While at the Department of Justice he served as the Assistant Director for Property Management of the Justice Management Division. During his civil service career he received numerous citations for outstanding performance and two Special Justice Management Division Commendation awards.

Major Gowin was a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the American Legion, Springfield Post 176, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Springfield Post 7327, the Disabled American Veterans Chapter VA-1, and the NOVA Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.

Along with loving to listen to big band music, Bob enjoyed golfing and playing softball, holding his own with players much younger than he. Bob, along with his daughter Vicki, was an avid fan of the Washington-area sports teams, especially the Redskins, having been a season-ticket holder for many years. He rarely missed a home game and also enjoyed trips to see his 'Skins play in other states. Of the four super bowls Bob attended in his life, in one he got to cheer on his home team! In addition to the many Redskins events proudly attended, Bob, a philanthropist at heart, gave generously to the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, along with other causes. Bob would been have so pleased that the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup this year! Bob’s love of sports wouldn’t be complete without mentioning has affinity for the Washington Nationals—especially Max and Gio!

For more than 30 years Bob enjoyed living the island life of Grand Cayman, BWI, a place he and his wife and daughter thought of as their home away from home. When not on the golf course or on his daily walks around his neighborhood, Bob was an avid reader, especially enjoying mysteries. With a wide grin, a sharp intellect, and an extremely giving heart, Bob was a friend to all who knew him, and his passing is deeply felt throughout his broad circle of friends and family.

Visitation will be held at Demaine Funeral Home on June 30, 2018 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial donations can be made to The Wounded Warrior Project, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.


  • The Wounded Warrior Project
  • Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund


30 June


2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Demaine Funeral Home

5308 Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22151

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