Dr. John B. Rowell, 97, of Lauderdale, died June 14, 2016.
He was born in 1918 in Pawtucket, R.I. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island, and entered the U.S. Coast Guard in July 1942 as an ensign. He served on USCG Modoc and USCG Harriet Lane, both cutters on antisubmarine duty in the North Atlantic. In 1944 he was commissioned and commanded the U.S. Army FS 249. This ship was one of many small supply ships that could rapidly load and unload supplies and personnel at the small bases scattered among the island in the Southwest Pacific.
He was commissioned to lieutenant in October 1945 and was honorably discharged in December 1945. All four of his great-grandfathers fought in the Civil War. Ezra Nelson Blake was killed at the second battle of Bull Run and many served their country through the Vietnam War. Great-great-grandfather Ezra Blake served in Revolutionary War.
John received his Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Minnesota in 1949. He was a research associate at the university when he joined the USDA to work on chemical control of cereal rusts and related problems in cooperation with the university. He and his team were able to determine a screening process to help predict the rust epidemics. He became the director of the Cereal Rust Lab and was named professor at the U of M. He also was a technical adviser for coordinating research on wheat rusts for the USDA and served on various committees of APS, the National Academy of Sciences and as a consultant to the Ford Foundation in India.
An avid fly fisherman, he retired in 1981 and spent many years at his cabin on the Brule River in Wisconsin.
John and his wife, Alice, both died this year. They are survived by sons, Bartlett (Jan), Los Gatos, Calif.; Bruce (Sharon); and Brian (Susan); nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandsons.
The family gives special thanks to Cherrywood Pointe Memory Care Unit and especially St. Croix Hospice for its support. A memorial service was held June 19.