James T. Rowley Jr. of Coventry, CT passed away Tuesday, May 21 from complications due to COPD at St. Francis Hospital. He was 76 years of age. James was pre-deceased by his father, James T. Rowley of Woodbury, CT, his mother, Mary F. Hynes of Brooklyn, NY, and his son, Daniel E. Rowley of Coventry, CT. He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Diane A. Rowley (MacPherson) of Coventry, CT, his son and daughter-in-law, James P. and Regan Rowley of Willington, CT, and his grandchildren Phineas and Evelyn Rowley.
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James was born and raised in Coventry, CT and graduated from Windham High School in 1961. While he excelled at all sports, swimming was his passion. He set school swimming records that lasted for decades and was the New England Champion in the 50 Freestyle in 1961. His hopes of making the National Swim Team came to an end when he was hospitalized due to illness in 1963. After attending Dean College, James enlisted in the Army in 1964. He went through basic training at Fort Dix, NJ and was then stationed at Ft. Leonardwood, MO. He was selected as the Honor Graduate of his class, where he showed outstanding proficiency in engineering and marksmanship, and was selected to attend NCO School. After being Honorably Discharged in 1968, James joined the Army National Guard in 1972 where he served as a Staff Sergeant until his retirement in 1992.
Professionally, James was a builder and a truck driver. He, and his lifelong best friend and business partner, Ernest Brigham, also of Coventry, CT., built dozens of homes in Coventry. Though the housing market crashed in the early 1990s, James was very proud of the nearly 50 homes that he had built in Northeastern CT.
As proud as James was of his military service, and the homes that he had built, there was nothing he was more proud of than his marriage to Diane. Married in 1966, there was never a man who loved, and needed his partner more than James. Throughout their 53 years together, there was never a moment when he did not want her by his side. Together they raised two sons and experienced the joy of becoming grandparents. Though the last few years of his life with COPD were a struggle, James and Diane loved traveling together. Among their favorite destinations were Lake George, NY, Old Orchard Beach, ME, the Grand Canyon, and virtually anywhere in New Hampshire and Florida.
James will be remembered as a loving husband, a caring father, father-in-law and grandfather, an exceptional friend, an avid fan of law dramas and English mysteries, NASCAR and one who would never refuse a “hook”. You will be missed. In lieu of flowers, James requested that donations be made to the Coventry Volunteer Fire Department who were so incredibly helpful and supportive over the last few years. Checks may be made out to Town of Coventry Fire & EMS Department and sent to Coventry Fire & EMS, 1712 Main St. Coventry, CT 06238. Relatives and friends may join the family on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at the Coventry-Pietras Funeral Home, 2665 Boston Tpke (Rt. 44), Coventry from 5-7 pm with a memorial service to follow at 7 pm. For online condolences, please visit www.pietrasfuneralhome.com