Reverend Dr. Eleanore L. Gowen
Eleanore L. Gowen, an educator and Episcopal leader for six decades, died on October 16 at her home in Norwell, MA. She was 91. Dr. Gowen was a dynamic and creative woman who lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Montana; and brought her energy and dedication to each community she lived in through education, spiritual leadership and women’s advocacy.
Born in 1927, Dr. Gowen grew up in Norwalk, CT, and graduated from nearby Danbury High School. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in education from Eastern Connecticut State University then her Master of Science degree in education, as well as her doctorate in education administration, from the University of Connecticut. She also earned a Doctorate in Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.
Early in her career, she became known as a dynamic and creative English teacher at Illing Junior High School (now Illing Middle School) in Manchester, CT, while also serving as First Warden of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. In Manchester, she served the League of Women Voters; was one of the first two women to be named to the board of directors for Manchester Savings Bank; co-founded Manchester Community College; and established the Manchester Scholarship Foundation. She served as vice principal of Manchester High School and assistant vice principal of Tolland High School in Tolland, CT.
In 1982, she moved to Massachusetts when she was named the first female principal of Scituate High School in Scituate, MA. In Scituate, Dr. Gowen also was a member of the League of Women Voters, the Rotary Club and the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and its education committee. As an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Scituate, she served as a lay reader and a volunteer of the Episcopal Church Women. In 1994, she was ordained as an Episcopal Deacon to the South Shore Deanery and became a member of the Episcopal Diocese Council of South Shore. Concurrently, she served as the assistant to the rector of the Church of the Holy Nativity, where she organized education groups and developed church curriculum.
When she moved to Montana she served St. Paul’s Church in Fort Benton and St. Francis Church in Great Falls. She also was a professor at the University of Great Falls and a member of the University’s board of trustees, and chairperson of the University’s faculty senate. Always blending her love of education and religious teachings, she served as the chaplin to the Regional Juvenile Detention Center of Great Falls and the adjunct chaplin to patients at Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls, MT.
She ultimately returned to Massachusetts, lived in Norwell and taught English at Lesley University until she retired in 2008.
Dr. Gowen was predeceased by her husband Raymond B. Gowen and she is survived by her five children and their spouses: Charles K. Gowen (Susan) of Granby, CT, Richard B. Gowen of Bolton, CT, Faith Evans Cousens (Forrest) of Poughkeepsie, NY, Nancy Gowen Clough (Jim) of Great Falls, MT, and Anne Gowen Staples (Captain James) of Norwell, MA. She also leaves behind 11 grandchildren, seven great-grand children and her brother Thomas Evans Jr. of Bethel, CT.
A celebration of Dr. Gowen’s life will be held at a later date and a private burial is planned at East Cemetery in Manchester, CT. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dr. Gowen may be made to the Manchester Scholarship Foundation at Manchester Community College, noting the donation is in honor of Reverend Dr. Eleanore L. Gowen, and mailed to:
MCC Scholarship Foundation Fund
P.O. Box 1046 – M.S.-6
Manchester, CT 06045