by Henry Lane Hull
Shortly after their marriage 49 years ago, Ellen and Myron Gowans left suburban Washington and moved to the banks of the Great Wicomico River at Lee-Dale Shores. They each had been married previously and with them they brought Ellen’s sons, who enrolled in local schools. They enjoyed life there and became active members of the community.
The Gowans stayed at Lee-Dale for two decades and then moved into the heart of Kilmarnock. Ten years ago they said goodbye to the Northern Neck, and resettled in Central Florida. Last month Myron died there six weeks short of his 91st birthday. He had spent his career as a fireman, the term that preceded the current “firefighter,” in which capacity he served with admirable distinction. That calling was but one of Myron’s many efforts at being of service to others in whatever way he could.
Here in the Northern Neck Myron became one of the stalwarts of the local chapter of A.A. He was a true missionary to anyone suffering through the affliction of addiction, always ready to offer his advice and counsel on how the person could overcome the situation and return to a happy and productive life. He never gave up on anyone.
Myron was gifted with an extraordinary capacity for achieving common sense solutions. He did not rush to conclusions or judgment, but rather weighed each case on its own merits and when he spoke people listened, knowing that his words would be both insightful and hopeful. He also had a true gift of humor, being able to make anyone laugh. He did not tell jokes as such, but made pithy comments that were unique to him.
Sartorial distinction was another of Myron’s noticeable traits. He did not wear suits, preferring sport jackets. In the latter category he had one in every pastel shade imaginable and brought new elegance to the casual look, always impeccably clad and looking as if he had been scheduled to be a senior citizen model.
Myron was a deep-believing Christian, which was a lifelong motivation for his work with A.A., as it had been for his career fighting fires. He was a charter member of the local Knights of Columbus and worked on the organization’s projects, one of the most visible of which was the annual yard sale, with great enthusiasm. He genuinely liked helping others, particularly young people, enjoying watching their progress and often with Ellen offering encouragement, laying out the wonderful course life could be for them.
Physically Ellen and Myron left the Northern Neck, but they kept in contact with what was happening here by reading the Rappahannock Record and making their bouncy telephone calls, letting everyone know that they were happy in their new location, but still considering themselves part of the Northern Neck. In their time here they increasingly became interested in politics, calling on behalf of the candidates they supported and reading extensively on subjects they thought every citizen should know. They also willingly hosted, or co-hosted, campaign gatherings on behalf of their candidates. They were not lukewarm when one spoke of politics.
Myron lived an exceptionally productive life, from his career calling in the arena of saving lives and property from the ravages of fire, to his avocation counseling those suffering from addiction, to his charitable work with the Knights of Columbus and finally to his support of political candidates whom he respected. He spoke articulately on all of those aspects of his life with the assurance that in every endeavor he had done his best. What more could anyone have asked of him?
Myron Gowans, October 14, 1927 – August 22, 2018. R.I.P.