FLINT TWP. — Retired Flint Township Fire Chief Donald Rowley, 85, died Nov. 5 at his residence.
He started his firefighting career in 1958 as an on-call firefighter for Flint Township, becoming full-time in 1961. He was promoted to chief in 1982 and served until his retirement in 1994.
Current Flint Township Fire Chief Thomas Stadler said despite having retired 24 years ago, Rowley was a fixture around the fire department and at the township.
“I didn’t work under him, but I knew him well,” said Stadler. “He was around regularly and was part of department way beyond his retirement. Until recently he served the township in various roles, including as a member of the planning commission.”
Rowley served on the planning commission until this past summer, when he stepped down.
Stadler said he and many of the firefighters would remember Rowley as a mentor.
“He was certainly a guide for our department,” he said. “A lot of our members, past and present, looked to him for guidance and opinions. He was a good, all-around guy to talk to.”
Rowley was born in Flint, March 12, 1933, the son of Amsden and Meta (Rothermel) Rowley. He served in the United States Army from 1951-1952 during the Korean War and in the United States Air Force from 1953 – 1957.
He married Carolyn Aug. 29, 1958. She preceded him in death in 2005.
He loved to hunt and fish and travel to Alaska and Florida. He also enjoyed spending time with family and friends and attending his children’s and grandchildren’s sports events. Rowley had also been a wrestling coach for the Flushing Raider Wrestling Club.
Stadler said Flint Township Fire Station No. 2, G-3327 Flushing Rd., was dedicated in Rowley’s name Nov. 14, 2017.
Funeral services were held Nov. 9, at the Plumb-Smith Funeral Home, Rev. Sarah LaRose Nettell officiated. Burial was in New Calvary Catholic Cemetery. An Honor Guard from the Genesee County Fire Chiefs Association was present throughout much of the visitation and funeral.
Surviving are: daughter, Colleen Rowley (Donald) Mathis; sons, Stephen (Debbie) Rowley, Michael Rowley, John Rowley, Mark (Theresa) Rowley, Donald (Diane) Rowley, Patrick (Julie) Rowley all of Flushing and Jeff (Cheryl) Damon of Wasilla, Alaska; 26 grandchildren; 49 great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews.