Mr. William “Bill” Larry Rowland, age 93, of Blackshear, passed away early Monday afternoon (11/25/19) at the Baptist Village Retirement Communities in Waycross following an extended illness.
Born in Savannah, Georgia on April 4, 1926, Bill spent his childhood in Wrightsville, Georgia and graduated from Wrightsville High School. He then joined the Navy and served from 1943-1946 in World War II as an Aviation Machinery Mate based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. He married his first wife Virginia Stapleton in 1947 and they raised their three children Larry, Maria, and Susan in Sanford, Florida.
Following his naval service, Bill worked for the city of Sanford, Florida as a firefighter and then entered Civil Service at Sanford Naval Air Station. He eventually worked his way up to Captain of the fire and crash department and received numerous awards for bravery. During his time in Sanford, he was also a member of First Christian Church of Sanford for 15 years, taught Sunday school, and was a church elder and chairman on the board. He was later transferred to the Naval Air Station in Albany, Ga where he retired from Civil Service. In his later years, Bill went on to work for several apartment complexes in maintenance as he was never one to stay idle.
On August 24, 1985, Bill married his wife, Kathy Thomas Rowland and helped raise his two stepdaughters, Sebrina and Tasha. Before his illness, Bill loved spending time outdoors tending to his garden and raising his chickens. We will miss his sense of humor, sweet smile, and his gift of engaging anyone in conversation. His sweet disposition made Bill a favorite with the nurses and staff at Baptist Village.
He was a member of the VFW in Waycross and later joined the American Legion Post 181 in Blackshear where he served 4 years as Commander. Throughout his life, Bill religiously supported the American Red Cross through blood donation and was recognized on several occasions for his dedication.
Preceding him in death is his mother Annie Laurie Rowland, his brother Bobbie, his daughter Susan, his granddaughter Valerie, and his first wife Virginia. Mr. Rowland was also preceded in death by his maternal grandparents “Willie” and “Maw Ma” Rowland and four maternal aunts - Alma, Vela, Lois, and Lucille.
Bill will be loved and missed by his wife Kathy Thomas Rowland of Blackshear, Georgia; son Larry Rowland of Sanford, Florida; daughter Maria Johnson (Bobby) of Hermitage, Tennessee; two stepdaughters Tasha Ammons and Sebrina (Will) Kline; 15 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
At Bill’s request, no public funeral services will be held.
Condolences may be sent to 4159 County Farm Rd, Blackshear, Georgia 31516 and the family welcomes family and friends to their residence.
Sympathy may be expressed online at www.hartfh.com.
Hart Funeral Home of Blackshear is in charge of arrangements.
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