Kirkland, WA — William Matthew Rowe, Retired Lt. Col., USAF, died on February 7, 2013, at the age of 94, at Aegis Lodge in Kirkland, Wash. Born in Lynn, Mass., on April 1, 1918, he was the son of the late George Rowe and Delia Sullivan Rowe. Husband of 55 years of the late Janine Genvre Rowe, he is survived by a daughter, Patricia Koncsek, with her husband Joseph, of Redmond, Wash.; two sons, Patrick, of San Bernardino, Calif., and Gerald, with his wife Candace, of Dinard, France; one grandchild, Elise Koncsek of Seattle; as well as by his sister Elynore Thayer, of Marblehead, Mass.; and three nieces, Joan Thayer, Sarah Thayer and Martha Libby Calwell. He was predeceased by his sister, Alyce Libby of Annapolis, Md., and his niece, Ellen Thayer of Marblehead.
Col. Rowe's life featured many admirable educational and military accomplishments. He attended Lynn English High School and Hebron Academy in Maine. During the summers, he served as a seaman in the Merchant Marine. After studying at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass., he attended Biarritz University in France. He earned a B.S. degree from the University of Maryland and later obtained his M.B.A. from George Washington University.
William Rowe graduated in 1941 from Air Force Flying School at Maxwell Field in Montgomery, Ala. He served valiantly as a combat pilot in the Philippines, where he fought in the Battle for Corregidor and was among the last American defenders to leave Bataan. For the remainder of World War II, he served as Operations Planner in Australia, England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. Later he served two tours in England with the RAF and one at the American Embassy in Paris. He continued as Operations Planner at various military bases in the U.S., at the Pentagon and in Iceland, while also continuing to fly fighter aircraft until his retirement from the USAF. During his distinguished career, he earned many military decorations, including the Bronze Star and the Air Medal.