Robert H. Rowland: 1926 to 2013
This essay was compiled and edited by Stan Paregien Sr., with a personal note by him. This essay contains Bob Rowland's obituary and notes of condolences from some of the friends of the family.
Be sure to read "My Personal Note" starting at page 9. --SP (continued) 2:17pm Jan 19 Dawn Shelton The following is from OC's Campus Community about the death of Bob Rowland ... I'm sure Quail members have our own memories of him - as an elder (?), Bible class teacher, friend and mentor ... Bob was born in Oklahoma and grew up in California. He served the Lord in mission work in Alaska, helping to establish congregations in Juneau and Sitka. He spent 32 years as an administrator at two Christian Colleges â€“ including serving as the 3rd president of Columbia Christian College and president of the American Citizenship Center and then as Executive Director of Enterprise Square at Oklahoma Christian University from 1971 â€“ 1990. In 2008 a Rowland Endowed Scholarship Fund was established to assist students from the northwest in Christian education. Services for Bob will be Saturday, January 26th. Details regarding the funeral can be found at www.walkerfunerals.com. Walker Family Funeral Services, Inc. Home. www.walkerfunerals.com June Wilson Cromling commented on Dawn Shelton's post in Quail Springs Church of Christ. 6:17pm Jan 19 June Wilson Cromling We are so sad to hear of the loss of this good man. He was driven by his passion and love for God. He fought hard for what he believed was true and right. We were always challenged by his teachings. I know that his daughter Cynthia was first in line to welcome him to his new home! Great loss here but great reunions in heaven. 4:07pm Jan 19 Jan Bruce Thanks for sharing Dawn. Bob was one of the most passionate people for God that I have known. 3:19pm Jan 19 Janet Dennis Helton My first memory of Bob was at the Spencer Church of Christ in the 1970s. He and Joy were always sweet people. As a kid, my favorite memories we of his magic tricks. Praying for his son and wife. 2:43pm Jan 19 John McCurdy Thanks for sharing this news. I knew Bob had been in declining health. Jamie, I would agree he is a Godly man. (continued) ************************************************************** Condolences Posted at the Funeral Home Web Site A Personal Note by Stan Paregien Sr email@example.com I first met Robert H. Rowland in the fall of 1961. My friend Richard ("Dick") Miller and I were from Fillmore, California and we were excited about going to Columbia Christian College and about exploring the wilds of beautiful Oregon. So it was with high expectations and a few unrealistic dreams we drove onto the campus in my 1955 Ford. The first afternoon we were there we found carpenters and other workers scrambling to try to complete the new dormitory (the cafeteria in the basement, the first floor with a "commons" area and the men's rooms on the east side and the women's rooms on the west side, and the second floor with an apartment for the "dorm parents/supervisors in the middle and the 2nd floor men's rooms on the east and the women's rooms on the west side). The workers told us that they were still working on the closets in our 2nd floor room, but they should be ready the next day. We saw that as no problem. We just picked out a change of clothes and left them on our beds, and we left the rest of our things inside my car--in the trunk and piled high in the back seat with all the things that are absolutely necessary to the average know-nothing freshman. Not to fear, though, one of the workers--an elderly man--would be sleeping five feet from my car in the back of his pickup in a camper sort of arrangement. This was the back (south) side of the dorms. They were really still under construction and looking rough. That is my little ol' 55 Ford at the right, near where I had parked that first night. That evening we and the other college students were treated to a wiener roast over a roaring outdoor fire. As the photo, below, attests, I was having a good time, standing there wearing my nice, warm "Fillmore Flashes" letterman jacket which I had earned and bought only a few months before. Those whose names I can remember after 52 years include, left to right: Steve Marshall, Richard Haines (back to camera), Rowena Anderson, then Steve Gamble (in light-colored pants), my close friend-to-be Ken Mueller, way back in the back, facing the camera was 6' 6" (or taller) string bean Dale Hannon, and the guy in the light shirt and pants with his back to the camera was (I think) John Sturke, and there I am in the center with the jacket with an "F" (not, fortunately, a predictor of my grade average), then Lloyd Isham is squatting down, with Cynthia Vinyard behind him, and behind her left shoulder and facing the camera was Marilyn Marks, then my buddy Dick Miller speaking with Larry Gaskin, and Nyal Royse, Dean of Students, squatting down at the far right. Well, Dick and I slept well our first night in the dorm. And early the next morning I stepped outside to survey our new kingdom. The sun was shining brightly and it was a warm morning. I walked past several cars, including mine. And then I did a doubletake at my car. Were my eyes deceiving me? Nope. It was stark naked, completely emptied of our valuables -- my fairly new reel-to-reel recorder, my letterman jacket, all the rest of our clothes, lots of miscellaneous stuff and even our Bibles. Stolen. Gone forever. Someone called the police and an officer dutifully took the report and left. By this time someone had informed President Rowland of the event. He came down and expressed his apology for something like that happening on campus. And he told us that he recalled several such instances down at his alma mater, Pepperdine University (old campus), as some thieves keep an eye out for such student vehicles. I lost everything except one change of clothes. Fortunately, the school took up a collection and even the Church of Christ back home in Fillmore sent some money. We couldn't replace everything we lost, but it was enough to get by. My next real interaction with President Rowland came after it become fairly common knowledge that several of us young whippersnappers were eager to form a men's fraternity on campus. A few days after that cat escaped from the bag, we got a note requesting our presence in President Rowland's office as soon as possible. Oh, oh, we thought, what had we been caught doing that we cannot even remember in the way of violating campus regulations? Three or four of us cautiously entered President Rowland's modest office and were seated. "I hear you fellas are talking about forming a men's fraternal organization," he said. "Yes, sir. Sorta, maybe thinking about it," we said, even more cautious and wondering where we had gone wrong. Rowland continued, "Well, when I was a student at Pepperdine we had a men's club-we don't call them fraternities in our Christian colleges, you know--and we called it 'Sub-T-16. They already have similar clubs at Harding University and at Abilene Christian. So I have some information for you to read, and I'd sure like for you to make that your club." Actually, we had missed the memo about the unwritten but nevertheless "cast-instone" regulation about fraternities not being allowed on our Christian college campuses. But that "Sub-T-16" stuff sounded kinda neat. So we went back and talked with the other guys and, bingo, formed such a chapter. And here were the guilty parties . . . , er, . . . I mean founders: (continued) J.V. Cardoza was a teacher at CCC. I am at lower right, Phil is top left and Ken at top right. President Rowland was pretty happy about that. No, not about the hazing incident, or at least I hope no one ever told him about it. He was happy about the establishment of the Sub-T-16 chapter on his campus. Ah, those were the wild and wooly days of yore. And then there was that one incident . . . way up in the forest . . . Now, this time it did not directly involve President Rowland. It did directly and deeply involve his son, Bobby Rowland, who was about 7 or 8 at the time. As I recall this breech against the legal system and human decency, four of us decided we wanted to get away from the campus for a weekend in the woods. Well, not exactly IN the woods but NEAR the woods. We still wanted a few creature comforts, like a roof and a toilet of some sort. There were four guiltier-than-sin parties to this outlaw action, not counting the angel in our midst (Bobby). And one of us arranged for all of us to spend Friday afternoon, Friday night, and most of Saturday out at Camp Yamhill. That was a church campgrounds in the middle of tall pine trees and near a babbling brook. Or maybe that was us babbling, I forget. The four adults (and, yes, I do use that word very loosely in this context) were myself, Ken Mueller, Dick Miller and Wade Vanderdasson. I would swear in court those were the participants . . . , but after 52 years, I ain't gonna take any bets. All went well for the first few hours after we arrived. We walked around and explored the woods, then returned to our cabin and made supper -- probably peanutbutter sandwiches, if I were the chef . . . but I cannot recall for sure. Then it happened. Darkness fell. And when you're surrounded by a maize of 70 ft. pine trees, darkness falls swiftly and hard until it is . . . , well, . . . dark-as-sin. (Somehow that word "sin" keeps creeping into this account.) Anyway, we sang and told ghost stories (especially for Bobby's benefit and cultural edification). Then we each turned in for the night, with only one dim light. Make that . . . , a very dim light. There we were, asleep in the magnificent forest land with sheep gracefully and ever so quietly leaping over the wooden fences in our minds while the cow was leaping over the moon. It was all so peaceful and quiet, except for that . . . loud GUNSHOT. Yep, a gunshot. I'm still trying to remember who brought that .22 rifle along with us. Probably Ken Mueller (the only real "sportsman" among us) or maybe Wade Vanderdasson. And one of them had seen a rat the size of a Volkswagen van scurry across the floor. His scurrying days, however, were no more as our own Buffalo Bill nailed his little hairy butt and that was that. Well, the next morning after a hardy breakfast of left-over peanut-butter sandwiches, we all went outside. Little Bobby joined Ken, Dick and myself for a stroll to the back 40. Ken, being the sportsman among us, had brought along his fly fishing equipment and wanted to spent some quiet time fishing nearby. And, lo and behold a modern miracle, he actually caught . . . and kept . . . two nice-sized trout he wanted to take back and get somebody to cook. As I recall, we packed up and left the Garden of Eden around noon. We were laughing and cutting up for the first two miles. That all came to a screeching halt. There before us, blocking the road, was the most awful thing you can imagine. It was wonderfully and fearfully made, and absolutely uglier-than-sin (Yikes, that word, again). What "it" was, in this case, was a road block. And the person beside this evil road block was a man with a gun. A really big gun. The man with the gun was a State Game Warden and he was operating a road block in a search for deer poachers. Not to fear, because we certainly had no deer--not on the rooftop or the hood of my '55 Ford. Then the big man with the big gun spoke those words make the most innocent of sportsmen break out in a cold sweat: "Open your trunk for me, please." Egad, not the trunk! When I popped the trunk, I saw that old friend, old buddy , old pal Ken had conveniently placed his two trout on a rag right there on top in clear-as-sin view. As it turned out, he had caught those two lovely trout out of season and, obviously, with no license to steal. And now he was caught with his wading pants down. The Game Warden wrote ol' Ken a citation, and it was not for his good looks and outstanding citizenship. He got a real live, honest-to-God, pink-as-sin order to appear in court on such and such date where he would need to pay a fine. Ouch. Now, right here is where Bobby comes in, again, and his father was not far off in the distance. You see, being certified-ignorant teenagers we were afraid we would bring shame and reproach upon the Christian college and maybe upon Christ himself. We just knew the local press would flaunt and twist this horrendous transgression by a Christian college student into something similar to a chain-saw massacre. So--and here is where the plot thickens--we begged Little Bobarino to please not say anything about this to anyone and especially not to President Rowland. We figured if Bob found out we fired a gun around his son and made him an accessory to a troutknapping that he would lash each of us to the college flagpole and flog us nearly to death with the most recent issue of the Firm Foundation or the Gospel Advocate. It would not be a pretty sight. Finally, after considerable begging which sorta morphed down to threatening, Bobby agreed to keep our little legal indiscretion a secret from his pop. Of course, being no fool, Bobby did extract promises made by each of us (with our fingers crossed behind our backs, unfortunately for him) to keep him stocked in bubblegum and Snickers. Hey, I'm almost certain this last part really happened, but my recaller is a bit out of alignment, you understand. Many, many years later, Robert Rowland and I reconnected when I moved to the Oklahoma City area where he and Joye had been living. He worked as the director of the American Citizenship Center at Oklahoma Christian University for a time. Then he conceptualized and founded the popular museum of economics, "Enterprise Square," at OCU. And there for a time our son, Stan Jr, was the Public Relations person for Enterprise Square. We met in a restaurant in Edmond one day in the late 1980s, as I recall. He said, in effect, that he had been skeptical about my "doctrinal soundness" ever since W. Carl Ketcherside (editor of Mission Messenger magazine out of St. Louis, MO) published my ground-breaking book, Thoughts on Unity (1971). It was also pretty much a career-breaking event for me, personally, as lots of preachers in the mainstream Church of Christ really despised what they knew about Ketcherside's views. Anyway, for the book I had invited 18 leaders from the major fragments of the Restoration Movement to contribute their viewpoints on our divided state and how to correct it. It was strictly taboo in those days to have anything to do with the "digressives" (to the left of us) or the "anti's (to the right of us), so Reuel Lemmons and others publicly placed my goose in the brotherhood oven and effectively roasted it. Whew. I've said all that to say this: Bob gracious revealed he had been wrong to have been so critical of me all those years. And then he added, "I now stand where you were standing back then. I still disagree with you on some ideas, but I understand now we don't have to agree on every detail of the Bible to fellowship each other." And we hugged and shook hands. It was a wonderful, moving moment for me. And I'll never forget it, nor will I forget his humility in that regard. I had always held him in high esteem, but I respected him even more after that day. Over the years, through his and Joye's trials and the loss of their daughter, we would email one another or phone each other. And once in a while we would run into each other. The last time was in 2006 (see the photo above), when he had a booth at the Tulsa Soulwinning Workshop and was selling his books. Due to Bob's progressive disease, in recent years it became harder and harder to keep his hands steady enough to use the computer keyboard. Finally, he had to give it up. And, in much the same way, our telephone conversations became more infrequent simply because it was virtually impossible to understand what he was saying. As with countless others who have known Robert Rowland, I will remember him as a caring man with a big heart. And when he cared about something, Bob cared passionately and fearlessly. That devotion to following the trail of truth wherever it leads, as with all truth seekers, sometimes made him the target of fiercely partisan critics. But he put his money where his heart was, self-publishing his own books so he could share his thoughts to a wider audience, even to those as yet unborn. Bob, my friend, we're going to miss you terribly. But we look forward to the time, maybe not too distant, when we can sit down together and have some great discussions right there in the shadow of God's great throne. Hallelujah and amen. _________________________________________________________________ (continued) NOTE: You may read Thoughts on Unity online for free at: http://unity-in-diversity.org/Books/tou/index.htm?inside There are occasionally copies of Thoughts on Unity which are for sale as used books on Ebay or Amazon.com. I have had seven other books published as Ebooks online. Check Amazon.com and also at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StanParegien PLEASE HELP: I would like to get back into contact with some of my classmates from Columbia Christian College. Let me know if you have contact information for (or if you know for sure one is deceased): Don Boyce, Phil Fields, Larry Gaskins, Jim Humphrey, Ed Hanson, Verlene Hutchens, Steve Marshall, Ken Mueller, Wade Vanderdasson and Cynthia Vinyard. firstname.lastname@example.org I have posted this essay online at http://www.issuu.com/cowboystan/docs Please mention it to others who may have known Robert Rowland.