Doctor Matthew Penick Rowan, a resident of San Antonio originally from College Station, Texas, was born June 15, 1982. Matt passed away at the age of 34 in the loving arms of Sunday Stewart Rowan, his beautiful bride of five months and a day, in a tragic hot air balloon accident on July 30, 2016 above pastureland in Maxwell, Texas.
Matt graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2004, The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a Master of Forensic Sciences, Toxicology in 2006, and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Pharmacology in 2011. Doctor Rowan was the Chief of Clinical Trials in Burns and Trauma at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research, and a beloved Adjunct Professor at Trinity University where he was scheduled to teach chemistry this fall. Matt had previously been an Adjunct Chemistry Professor at St. Mary’s University and Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.
Dr. Rowan was a dynamic researcher for the U.S. Army. After years of educational work and training, Matt could’ve easily gotten a job making more money, but inspired by his older brother’s time in the Iraq War was more interested in a life of service helping soldiers, veterans and other victims suffering from burns and trauma than he was his paycheck. Simultaneously, he was a passionate and beloved professor and mentor to many college students, the kind of hands-on, laid-back teacher with the ability and patience to break down the most complex information, the kind of guy everyone prays for when they register for classes as challenging as Organic Chemistry.
Matt truly was one of the good guys, brilliant but humble, welcoming and a friend to all. He loved playing volleyball, his dog Lellow, a good laugh regularly, a great cigar occasionally, and going hunting, though that was finally something we found he wasn’t so great at. He was a Christian who loved God and his family, an Aggie who bled maroon, and the kind of man who really did live the idea of leaving the world a better place. Well done, Matt. Godspeed, and gig ‘em!
Matt was survived by and adored his stepson, five year old Jett Jones, his mother, Sue Rowan, father and step-mother Terry and Brenda Rowan, brother and sister-in-law, Joshua and Paige Rowan, nephews Palmer and Brant Rowan, and numerous relatives and friends who are devastated and miss him desperately. Our families thank you all for your prayers, hugs and words of comfort during this unfathomably surreal time. We were so blessed to have Matt and Sunday in our lives, and we are blessed to have friends like you.
“All of us want to do well, but if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.” (Anna Quindlen)
Matt and Sunday’s memorial service will be held Saturday, August 6th, at 2:00pm at Christ United Methodist Church located at 4201 State Highway 6, South in College Station.
A scholarship fund for students of Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry has been set up in honor of Matt to continue his spirit of commitment to helping others. Donations may be made to Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry (Matt Rowan Memorial Scholarship Fund), Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840 or online at https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1436/gid3give/2014/index.aspx?sid=1436&gid=3&pgid=322 or by clicking the GIVE NOW link on the Texas A&M Foundation homepage.
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