Event Date : Thursday, February 09, 1984
Event Type : Death
They came to this small village, located just south of Cookstown, to pay their last respects to a political legend.Gathered in the Newton Robinson United Church, with the rain falling softly outside, they listened as Rev. Henry Dahlin performed the service. It was a final tribute to a man whose political career spanned almost 65 years. William Earl Rowe, former lieutenant governor of Ontario and political veteran died last Thursday at his Newton Robinson home after suffering a heart attack. He was 89.
Born in Iowa, Mr. Rowe grew up in Simcoe County, where his political career began in 1919 when he became reeve of West Gwillimbury Township. He spent 35 years as a Conservative legislator at both the provincial and federal levels before he was named lieutenant governor in 1963. A former leader of the Ontario Conservative Party, Mr. Rowe was also the youngest member in the R. B. Bennett cabinet, where he served as minister without portfolio.In 1958, his daughter Jean Casselman Wadds was elected to parliament, making the Rowes the first father-daughter team in Canada's history. She now serves on the MacDonald Commission on the economy.In addition to his long and distinguished political career, Mr. Rowe was also actively involved in harness racing throughout his life. Together with his son, Bill, he founded both the Barrie and Windsor Raceway.
Among those attending the funeral service held Monday afternoon at Newton Robinson United Church were Lieutenant Governor John Black Aird, Premier William Davis, New Brunswick Premier Richard Hatfield, Solicitor General George Taylor, former lieutenant governor Roland Michener, and York-Peel MP Sinclair Stevens.Premier Davis described Mr. Rowe as a great Canadian who will be remembered as a man who excelled as parliamentarian Queen's representative in Ontario as a breeder and racer of standard-bred horses a farmer and most importantly in raising a fine family."
Mr. Rowe's wife Treva died five weeks ago after suffering a series of strokes. They are predeceased by a son Lennox. Mr. Rowe leaves a sister Mary Lennox and a daughter Jean Casselman Wadds. In addition he leaves to mourn grandchildren Mrs. Jane Hutchins, Nancy Casselman of Toronto, Earl Rowe of Shanty Bay, Clare Casselman of Toronto, Scott Rowe of Cookstown, Cindy Rowe of London, Patti Rowe of Cookstown, and great-grandchildren Jennifer Hutchins, Katherine and Crystal Rowe. Mr. Rowe was buried at Newton Robinson Cemetery. Honourary pallbearers were Roland Michener, William Davis, Art Evans, Bill Hodgson, Louis Levesque, and Ellen Fairclough. Pallbearers were Earl Rowe, Scott Rowe, Lorne Lennox, Jim MacDonald, Dave Hutchins, and Clare Casselman."