UAHT Pioneer’s Passing Mourned

Ken McLemore

HOPE – Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart recalled the foundational work in Hope and Southwest Arkansas of educator J. W. Rowe Jr. in a statement today on the announcement of Rowe’s passing.

“The Hope Public Schools sends its most heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Rowe and our educational partners at UAHT,” Dr. Hart said Monday. “Mr. Rowe dedicated his life to the students and staff at Red River Vocational-Technical Institute and later the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana.”

Rowe, 94, passed away Sunday, Feb. 7.

Rowe was the original director of the Red River Vocational-Technical Institute at Hope from 1965-1987, and he was the namesake of scholarships endowed through the UAHT Foundation.

A 1954 graduate of Southern State College (Southern Arkansas University) in Magnolia, Rowe was named a Distinguished Golden Mulerider honoree in 2017. He was a past president of the Vo-Tech Directors Association and served as training direction of vocational education for the El Dorado COOP, as well as assistant director of Pines Vo-Tech.

Rowe was a U.S. Navy veteran and a member of the Southern State Alumni Board, SAU Foundation Board, Columbia County Community Foundation, Civitan Club in El Dorado, Pine Bluff and Hope, and Boy Scouts of America. He was past-president of the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce as well as the Hempstead County Industrial and Economic Foundation. Rowe was an active member of First Baptist Church in Hope, and he participated in mission trips to Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil and Peru.

“Our community and education as a whole have lost a giant,” Hart said. “We extend our thanks to his family for sharing him with us. He will be missed.”

Funeral arrangements and official obituary are incomplete and will be announced by Brazzel Funeral Homes of Hope.

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