Thursday, March 5, 2009

Goodbye to Uncle John

On Tuesday I received the sad news that my Uncle John had passed away. He was a very special man indeed, who gave his life in service to the poor, displaying a humble love for God through service and kindness. I was able to speak with him at the hospital just last week. He didn't want to talk about his condition, but rather asked how my kids were doing. He knew his time was coming to an end. He had fought the good fight, he had run the good race. We looked forward to his hearing "Well done, good and faithful servant" very soon. "See you back home on the other side!" were his last words to me.

Below is his obituary, though it doesn't fully get to the heart of the man, it does tell a story. I'll miss him, but  grieve for those he leaves behind, not for him. The two things I'll remember most about him are his wonderful and infectious sense of humor, and his love for the poorest children of Peru.

Rev. Brother John Felix McGowan C.F.C. passed away on March 3, 2009.
Brother McGowan was born on August 10, 1925 in New York, the son of
Felix and Maura O'Sullivan McGowan. He is a graduate of Holy Family
Elementary, Iona Preparatory, Iona College where he graduated with a BA
in English, Laval in Quebec where he received his MA in French and
University of Detroit where he received his MA in Administration.
Brother McGowan entered the congregation on February 2, 1943 and took
his final vows on September 8, 1951. His ministry took him to many
positions including Province leader, Provincial Western American
Province from 1972-1981,as well as Power Memorial Academy, All Hollows
High School, Iona Grammar, Br. Rice High School in Birmingham, MI,
Palmer High School in Salinas, CA, St. Patrick's High School in Vallejo,

CA, Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu, HI, Colegio Nuestra Sra.
Pilar High School in Arequipa, Casa Santa Rosa De Lima Community and
Casa Hermano Edmundo in Lima, Peru. Brother McGowan was predeceased by
his parents and three brothers: Patrick V., Lawrence P. and Felix J.
McGowan. He is survived by his sisters Mary Baxter and Elizabeth Hegarty. A wake
will be held at St. Joseph Care Center, 30 Montgomery Circle, New Rochelle, NY
on Thursday from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be
held at Holy Family Church, Mayflower Ave., New Rochelle, NY on Friday
at 9:30 AM. Internment to follow at Christian Brothers Cemetery in West
Park, NY. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to St.
Joseph Care Center. Graham Funeral Home. 1036 Boston Post Road Rye


Anonymous said...

Hi there, I was a friend of your uncle Johns brothe Felix whilst he lived in Donegal, he told stories of his famly, John included, and I was sad to hear of his passing, God Bless

Larry Baxter said...

Thanks for the comment! John and Felix, as well as their father from Ireland, were very special people indeed. I'll bet there were lots of stories... Felix was quite the story teller. God bless - Larry

lachichicapsiosa said...

my name is Elizabeth Gonzales. i dont speak english but i met brother Felix in Peru, he prepare me for the sacrament of comunion
i´m very sad but i know brother Felix died Felix brother meant a lot to me, i really wanted a lot and today occupies a big place in my heart,i can not stop mourn,i was hoping to find him still alive,and i regret his dead, i been looking for him over 16 years
I want to know as it was in these years, you could tell me through this page? I really appreciate it blessings to you, im very sad, for it.please reply to this message to o in this page, very thanks

Larry Baxter said...

Elizabeth, sorry for the delay in posting and response, I've been on vacation. I'm so glad that Brother Felix touched your life in Peru, as his heart was for the people of Peru. He was 84 years old when he passed away last year. He served in Peru for many years, with a great love for the children there. In the past 16 years he finally retired and lived peacefully back in the US. Besides his love, what he may be best remembered for is his laugh :) I have no doubt at all He is in heaven with the Lord now, as his love for Jesus Christ was so clear. I'll respond via email as well. God bles you, and thanks!