Gregory Clarence McGowen, 83, of Fanshawe, Oklahoma passed from this life on March 27, 2020, at his home in Fanshawe, surrounded by his family.
Greg was born on February 2, 1937 in the community of Cedar Creek near Fanshawe to parents Norma Hazel (Jackson) McGowen and Clarence J. McGowen. Greg graduated from Fanshawe High School in 1955. He attended Graceland College in Lamoni, IA and later received both his Bachelors & Masters degree in Education from Northeastern OK in Tahlequah. In the fall of 1959 he started his teaching career in Arkoma, Ok, he taught for 32 years and was the Elementary Principal in Red Oak, Ok for the last 17. Greg always had a wandering spirit and took a year off from teaching to travel early in his career.
He had a few adventures in the old Falcon, removing the back seat to make space to sleep on his journeys, but eventually found his way back home to Fanshawe. He served as the County Superintendent of Leflore County in the early 70’s. While holding this position his father introduced him to his future bride, Sally Bustin, she always said she was handpicked by his dad. He and Sally were married on his birthday in 1973, so he could never forget their anniversary. In 1974 he accepted the principal position at Shady Point. A few years later they moved to Fanshawe into the house they still call home. In 1976 Greg became Elementary Principal at Red Oak and remained there until he retired in 1992. Retirement allowed him to attend all of his children’s sporting events; from 1992 to 2004 his primary concern in life was watching his kids play sports.
He never missed a game and was happiest coaching from the stands, celebrating wins and analyzing losses on the car rides home. Greg was a devoted member and minister in the Community of Christ church in Fanshawe. He served in several different priesthood offices, including Priest, Elder, High Priest and Evangelist. He performed the baptisms of his wife Sally and all three of his children in the same hole of water on Cedar Creek where his grandfather, Jewel Jackson baptized him in 1948. The last baptisms he performed were for two of his beloved grandchildren just a little farther upstream but still on Cedar Creek. A celebration of his ministry in Community of Christ was held in 2012 and at that time, our best estimate is that he had married at least 40 couples, and presided over 150 funerals. The funerals Greg presided over were comforting celebrations of life, he spent many hours talking to family members and carefully prepared personalized tributes for each person.
Greg is survived by his wife, Sally of the home; two daughters & sons in law, Marcie and Rob Tucker of Jones, OK , Sarah and Michael Reed of Rock Island, OK, one son & daughter in law, Wes and Amber McGowen of Fanshawe, OK, eight grandchidren; Logan, Tye and Zoe Tucker, Mia, Tripp, and Ridge McGowen, Kade and Emma Reed; two sisters; Judith and Nolan Branscum of Arkoma, OK, Carol and Craig Nikel of Sand Springs, OK. Numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and beloved friends. He is preceded in death by his parents. Due to the current pandemic, family will have a private service with a memorial service to be planned at a later date. Open viewing will be at Evans and Miller Funeral Home on Saturday, March 28, 2020. Greg was a great lover of reading and sports. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations of children’s books be made to Fanshawe Schools or donations be made to the Fanshawe School Activity Fund in his memory.
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The family has chosen to entrust the care of the services to Evans & Miller Funeral Home, POTEAU, OK