Althea Carol (Hetrick) Rowand, born October 17, 1940, died peacefully in her own home, in her own bed, with the man she loved by her side on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. She fought a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and was lucky enough to be cared for at home, among the people and things she loved the most.
She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Ron Rowand; sister, Shirley Weldemere; daughter, Rebecca (Dave) Turner; son, Aaron (Dottie); and grandson, David Turner, Jr. She is preceded in death by parents Evelyn and Ken Hetrick.
Raised on the highest point in Pennsylvania, she was surrounded by family and walked or road a bike to her grandmother’s log cabin. Her chores included milking their cow and mowing the local cemetery.
When she was in high school, her dad had a 57’ Plymouth Fury. Ken used to let her drive it; not knowing she was going to drag race it and beat all the local boys.
After graduating from Elk Lick High School, her father told her no woman needed college, but she went anyway, just two weeks later. She worked one year for the Navy to save money to go to college. During that time, she waited in line, in the snow, with open toed shoes, and was able to shake hands with President John F. Kennedy. Before she was married, she bought herself a 59’ Chevy convertible.
Her first year at Columbia Union College, she met Ronnie Rowand. After sharing a pint of ice cream, he won her heart.
Althea married Ron Rowand on May 17, 1964, in Woodbury, NJ and were the first couple to be married in that church. She wore the dress of her very best friend and carried hydrangeas that were pilfered from Glassboro State College’s overgrown gardens. They first set up housekeeping on the Rowand Family farm. Later they returned to Takoma Park where she went back to work for the Navy, while Ronnie started his own auto body company.
In Takoma Park, they bought a house behind the boys’ dormitory, but in 1975 they moved to the country life of Calvert County. Althea stayed at home with the kids for 10 years. She returned to work for the Navy as a civilian in the Naval Air Division. She rose through the ranks and was provided Top Secret Clearance.
In the 1980’s, she began selling F/18 Hornet Fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, Canada, Spain, and Australia. As she was in command of each job, she would travel to those locations’ multiple times. During her travels, she would take vacation, circle the globe and see the world. In 1983 she missed the Beirut Lebanon truck bombing of the marine compound, by 1 week.
After she had been to Saudi a couple times, she developed a friendship with one particular jewelry store owner. She saved money and purchased large amounts of gold jewelry to bring home and sell at a profit. Once, during Muslim prayer time, when the shop temporarily closed, she was allowed to stay inside. It was there then that she was introduced to the Shaik in charge of all the Saudi highways. He was purchasing a matching diamond necklace and bracelet set for his third wife. He asked if she would mind wearing the necklace, so he could see how it looked on a woman’s neck. Of course, she complied. That Sheik was Osama Bin Laden’s father.
She was successful in her business dealings with the Saudi Arabian counterparts, because she researched their local customs. She respected their modesty and made long sleeved, high necked, ankle length cotton dresses to wear over her jeans. When she transferred out of the Saudi program, the Saudi government sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy, commending her work, stating how smooth and efficient turnovers were under her command.
Althea was always involved with her kids. She did twist with them, in socks on a freshly waxed floor, while Elvis was crooning away on the record player. She carted Aaron to softball games and volunteered in Pathfinders. She helped Rebecca win baking contests for Pathfinder fairs, but couldn’t make a pie crust! She was always creating projects to raise money for “the Dorcus charity” having yard sales or walking door to door asking for canned goods.
She loved keeping strawberry beds, using mulch down each row. We think she loved having strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream.....3 meals a day, every day, during strawberry season. Althea raised Airedale puppies for many years. It all started with Amy, their first Fur Baby.
Althea could spot a valuable antique. She enjoyed finding the Heisey and carnival glass pieces. She taught herself to play the piano as a child and would play for song service at the Prince Frederick SDA church. At home, most Friday’s she would sit down at the piano and start playing her Country Hymn book from page 1 and work her way through. When we were kids, on days she was too tired to drive up to Beltsville Church, we would hold our own worship service by singing while she played the piano.
Family and friends were very important to Althea. If you needed a helping hand, a listening ear, dishes washed, food prepared, a cosign on a school loan, plan a party, or money to pay your rent, Althea would help.
She read her Bible and tried to live a life to be proud of. She was sweet, generous, gregarious, smart, organized, reassuring, nonjudgmental, thoughtful, and full of faith. We could go on and on with all the good things that she worked towards, help create, and people she loved.
Friends will be received at the Newman Funeral Homes, P.A., 179 Miller St., Grantsville, MD, on Sunday, October 20, 2019, from 1-3 p.m. Funeral services will follow in the funeral home at 3:00 p.m. Interment will be held in the Springs Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to stay for dinner at the Springs Folk Meeting House, following the internment.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.newmanfuneralhomes.com.
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