John Leroy Rowe was born in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, on May 18, 1914. He was the son of Alfred and Abbie Erickson Rowe. John Rowe attended public schools in Oconomowoc, and graduated from Oconomowoc High School in 1931. He attended Wisconsin State University at Whitewater, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1935. He continued his education at Iowa State University, and graduated with a Master’s degree in 1939. He earned an Ed.D from Columbia University in 1946.
Rowe was an Associate Professor at Columbia from 1948-1952, before becoming a Professor at Northern Illinois University. He moved to Grand Forks in 1955 to accept the chair of the Business Education Department at the University of North Dakota. During his tenure at UND, the Department became certified to offer two year Associate of Arts degrees, in addition to graduate degrees. He also acted as advisor to several student organizations in business and vocational education.
Dr. Rowe was a prolific writer, who authored more than 35 books and 150 professional articles, in addition to serving as the editor for several business education journals. The most common theme of Rowe’s professional writing was the subject of typewriting. Rowe was also an accomplished teacher; following a 1965 student election, he was named one of nine outstanding teachers at UND. In 1973, he was named a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, the highest honor the University bestows on faculty members.
Rowe was also a member of a number of organizations, including the American Vocational Association, the Catholic Business Education Association, the National Association for Business Teacher Education, and the United Business Education Association. He served as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Crippled and Handicapped Children, the State Advisory Council on Vocational Education, and the Citizens Committee for the Grand Forks Community Orchestra. He was also a Regent for Mary College in Bismarck.
John Rowe died on September 21, 1975, in Grand Forks. He is buried at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Mapleton, Wisconsin.