Francis Hunter Rowley obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Francis Hunter Rowley

April 18, 1924 - July 8, 2017

Obituary


MARIETTA, Ga. - A service for Francis Hunter Rowley, 93, of Marietta, GA, a retired financial analyst from New England who served in World War II as a waist gunner on American B-17 "Flying Fortresses," will be held Oct. 28 in Newton, MA.

Rowley died July 8 in Marietta. A long-time resident of Concord, MA, and Nashua and Center Harbor, NH, he had been living for many years in the Atlanta area at the time of his passing. He was preceded in death by his wife and the love of his life, Virginia "Ginger"...

MARIETTA, Ga. - A service for Francis Hunter Rowley, 93, of Marietta, GA, a retired financial analyst from New England who served in World War II as a waist gunner on American B-17 "Flying Fortresses," will be held Oct. 28 in Newton, MA.

Rowley died July 8 in Marietta. A long-time resident of Concord, MA, and Nashua and Center Harbor, NH, he had been living for many years in the Atlanta area at the time of his passing. He was preceded in death by his wife and the love of his life, Virginia "Ginger" Pease Rowley, in 2001.

"As painful as this loss is, we are thankful he is at peace," said his son, Mark Rowley of Marietta. "At 93, he lived an extremely full life, and we will cherish many wonderful memories."

"My father had a real love for people. He treated everyone the same, whether they were a CEO, a waitress or a railroad worker. And he had a great spirit, a wonderful sense of humor and a passion for fairness and justice. If he saw something wrong, large or small, he would try to right it. And he would try to teach us to make our wrongs right, as well," said his daughter, Kimberly Judge Jones of St. Simon's Island GA.

F. Hunter Rowley was in the national public eye when he served as the foreman on the jury that in 1967 convicted the reputed "Boston Strangler," Albert DeSalvo, of all 10 of the charges against him and concluded that he be put in prison for life.

Known by family and friends as "Hunter" and by his grandchildren as "Gumpy," Hunter Rowley loved nature, dogs, newspapers and painting, and he had a fondness for industry, especially trains and transportation, which were a specialty of his investment analysis.

Rowley was born April 18, 1924, in Boston and grew up in Brookline, MA, a Boston suburb. He attended The Rivers School before graduating from Deerfield Academy, both in the Boston area.

He attended Camp Chewonki in Wiscasset, ME, as a young boy, one of the places where he grew to love the woods and the outdoors. At time of his death, he was the camp's oldest alum.

Following graduation from Deerfield, Rowley joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and was assigned to the 8th Air Force and its famous 100th Bombardment Group. He served as a waist gunner on a B -17 during World War II, and he flew on 35 missions from bases in England over enemy territory.

The bomb group came to be known as the "Bloody Hundredth," because so many planes and men were lost during their dangerous missions in 1943 and 1944. The average lifespan of an 8th Air Force B-17 crewman in 1943 was 11 missions, according to the 100th Bomb Group Foundation website. Rowley earned a certificate afterwards from his commanders in Great Britain in one of the toughest clubs in the world, "The Luckye Bastardes Club," for his service and survival.

Following his service he attended and graduated from Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He later studied to become a Certified Financial Analyst.

Rowley started his career at Maine Central Railroad in Maine and later joined the firm of Scudder, Stevens & Clark Inc. in Boston. He retired from State Street Bank in Boston as a Transportation, Banking and Insurance Analyst.

An avid sports fan, Rowley was especially fond of the New England Patriots and spent many happy weekend days with friends and family at games rooting for his beloved "Pats."

Rowley was a long-time member of The Country Club in Chestnut Hill, MA, where he played golf and enjoyed volunteering for Ryder Cup Events. He was also an active member of the men's curling group at the Nashua Country Club. He especially enjoyed the yearly bonspiel at the Belfast Maine Curling Club and social hours in the warm room following all events.

In his later years spent the majority of his time at his home on Squam Lake in Center Harbor, NH. He also took up painting and spent a great deal of time taking art classes and watercolor painting. He and Ginger especially loved the lake and their dogs.

"After his wife's passing in 2001, Hunter lived the rest of his life in a very low-key manner," recalled their son, Mark. "A creature of habit, his daily routines became famous to all who knew him. Always with a dog at his side, he lost himself in his watercolor paintings, often with a glass of Merlot by his easel.

"In social situations, Dad was always blunt and to the point. To his caregivers, he could be demanding, but at the same time, he was always thoroughly compassionate-and they loved him. He always made time to give to his favorite charities including, the Red Cross, the Chewonki Foundation and the Squam Lake association.

"His seemingly gruff exterior always masked a very generous soul who hated to see people struggle."

Fred Scott of Jacksonville, FL, a close family friend for more than 45 years, observed about Rowley: "He loved spending time at his cabin in the woods, taking his boat around the lake and telling stories around his fire pit. He was also close to his neighbors and fond of the many other friends and local merchants who looked out for him.

"He will be missed by people he touched everywhere he went."

Rowley is survived by his daughter, Kimberly (and Michael Jones); his son, Mark (and Annie Rowley), six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

A private graveside service will be held on Oct. 28 at Newton Cemetery, 791 Walnut St., Newton Center, MA, followed by a reception for family and friends at The Country Club at 191 Clyde St., Chestnut Hill, MA, starting at 12:30 pm.