Jimmy Rowley

May  20th, 1952 April  2nd, 2024
Verona Island, Maine
Jimmy Rowley

Jim Rowley will definitely be remembered for his unique personality and his ability to do anything. Well maybe not singing. Never heard him sing. Jim was a very well rounded guy. 

Obituary

James Charles Rowley passed on April 2, 2024 at Eastern Main medical Center in Bangor, Maine. He was surrounded by his family and hospice volunteers after a brief illness .Jimmy was born to Martin H. Rowley and Blanche Gagnon on May 20, 1952. He graduated from Huntington high school and attended Franklin Pierce College .Jimmy began his career as a chef on his beloved shelter island on Long Island, New York .He had many businesses in car repair, restoration and sales from Ibex to Auto Colony being his last .One of his passionate hobbies was racing, Formula Atlantic race cars, and collecting and restoring, classic and high-end cars. Jim loved engineering and building things, whether it was creative houses, businesses or reassembling an old barndominium from New Hampshire, which was his final work of art on Verona Island in Maine. Another hobby and business (Sea Discovery), was deep sea diving for scallops, and diving on sunken ships off the coast of Maine. One amazing find, was a GE lightbulb found on an old ferry in Moosehead Lake, that still worked! He sent it to General Electric, who wrote quite a featured article about it and Jim. He is survived by his son, Jake(James M), and Fran’s two daughters, Rachel and Sarah and their families. Also, his siblings, Marty, Carol, Eddie, and Charlie and their families.I was privileged to hold his hand with my son Jake for one last farewell family moment.Jimmy lived life to the fullest and always loved an impossible challenge. He will be greatly missed. 

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April 19, 2024
My family and the Rowleys were across the street neighbors growing up. Jimmy and I were mates in those early years, sharing an interest in all things mechanical. As noted in other remembrances, I admired his abilities, and found him to be interestingly different but with little regard for boundaries or filters.
One day I went over to see what he was up to. His chore that day was to rake the leaves out of the shrubbery around the house. He turned to me with that gleam in his eye and said you want to go for a ride in the Spidget - his first race car - around the neighborhood?
We had to take the racing slicks down to the gas station to fill them with air and hurry back to get them on the car before they deflated.

I'm sitting on the fire extinguisher on the bare passenger side floor with my arm wrapped around the roll bar and he fires it up. No mufflers on this thing. Off we go down Drohan accelerating hard when the front end suddenly lifts and wavers. What's that? I yelled. It's the other two cylinders cutting in, he yells back. Then he makes a sudden turn to the right and we're headed down into this dense wooded neighborhood where the houses are perched on both sides of this steep large ravine with just a winding narrow lane running down the middle. Down ahead, there's a man tending a pile of burning leaves in the road that takes up half of our side of the road. A car approaching up the other side of the lane had stopped before the chicane so that we could have room to get by. Jimmy starts to brake, and then steps on the gas and drives right through the burning pile of leaves, sending up whirlwinds of hot leaves and sparks behind us. No time to gawk as he hangs a sharp left at the end of the lane onto the steep uphill portion of Browns Road. Another left and we're back on the long stretch of Drohan screaming toward home. When we get within range of the house, Jimmy cuts the ignition and we silently coast the rest of the way; around the corner and into the garage.
We close the garage door and Jimmy hands me a rake so I can help him do the leaves. Some minutes later, we're standing in the yard with our rakes on the Drohan side when a police car comes around the corner and stops. A window rolls down and a voice from the dark says - You boys seen a little red racing car go by? Jimmy says Yes sir and points in the direction the cop is already headed. It went thataway.

If Jimmy made it as far as the Pearly Gates, I'm sure he climbed over the gates rather than go through them, so he could take in the view from the top. Then he'd point out a better design for the hinges so the gates would open easier.
Jimmy lived for the experience. And we get to tell the stories.


Pat Moran
April 18, 2024
I want to share my thoughts on losing my uncle Jimmy. I am sad that I didn't get to spend more time with him, but I'm also grateful for the time that I did have.
I'm grateful that I got to know my uncle Jimmy as an adult. I'm grateful that my children both got to Visit with uncle Jimmy and hear his wild stories. I'm grateful that we had the most wonderful family reunion on his property a few years ago.. I'm grateful that I got to see his final work on his reconstructed farmhouse that he worked so hard on.
i am also grateful that my dad, Aunt Carol, Uncle Charlie, Jake, and Marty got to be with him in his final hours and that he knew he was not alone. I feel confident that Jimmy knew his family loved him and admired him from afar.

I have great memories of my cool uncle jimmy... I remember hearing how many times he reinvented himself and that he never gave up or have in. He followed his dreams. I hope my children take that lesson from him and incorporate a little of Uncle Jimmy's spirit in their lives.

I remember as a teenager him teaching us about how to collect and eat mussels fresh from the rocks on the Maine coast, bringing us to eat fresh lobster, cooking up Belty burgers in Vermont for another family reunion and him sending us delicious smoked hams for the holidays when I was a kid. I guess I also feel grateful that he introduced me to some really good food!
Mostly, I feel honored that he opened his house to his big extended family.

That special weekend I had the opportunity to share a glass of wine (or 2) with Uncle Jimmy and he gave me some good life advice and perspective as we sat in his lawn chairs looking out at the ocean as the sun set.… I couldn't ask for a better last memory. With my Uncle Jimmy! Cheers🍷 to a life lived to the fullest!
Heather McKenna
April 17, 2024
I’ll say what no one else is saying, Jimmy was crazy. Crazy smart, crazy talented, crazy creative, crazy energetic, and a crazy risk taker. Jimmy didn’t seem to have the filters most of us have. Filters like, that’s a bad idea, that’s dangerous, that’s a bad investment, that’s not to code, that could kill you. He had none of those stop points. Everything seemed to be within his capabilities and everything seemed to be fun for him. I’ve been in the group of friends for over 50 years and I can’t recall any stories told about Jimmy without them ending in us all shrugging our shoulders and saying “ you know Rowley, he’s crazy.

He will be missed by us all.
Dale Stokkers
April 16, 2024
I first met Jimmy traveling coastal Maine with Charlie about 20yrs ago outside of Orland at his auto shop. He was very friendly and full of enthusiasm for his cars. I was struck by how much he looked like Charlie. Definitely cut from the same cloth!

During subsequent trips Downeast, sometimes with Charlie, and sometimes not, I would stop in and say hi. As a fellow woodworker I was fascinated by the progress he made on his reclaimed barn each time I visited. What a massive project!

Jimmy, I’ll miss stopping in for our friendly conversations, and thanks for introducing me to the Haddock Reuben sandwich in Bucksport!
Bob Nichols
April 12, 2024
So even as a young child I remember it did not take long for people to know that Jimmy was different. One story comes to mind and it of course was an early precursor to his racing days to come. As the two younger brothers tagged along Jimmy quickly developed a clever plan for our go kart experience at the local race track. He instinctively knew that all the go karts were limited in speed by adjusting the “ governor “ on the throttle cable. So naturally ( for him ) he hid the necessary tools in his pockets to remove that feature…but only on his race car. Since he knew our group of three brothers would need to quickly escape we had a plan to jump the fence in directions and meet up at a meeting place away from the small race track. So course his go kart sped away in front of everyone and I’m sure it caused some others to bump into each other ! So as instructed we all scattered in different directions before the local employees would ever be able to catch us and then have to explain to our parents what we did.
I fondly remember so many adventures, yes many mischievous in nature, that we had together growing up in Long Island ! Jimmy, you will be missed by us all. charlie( the baby brother )
Charles Rowley
April 11, 2024
Jim was a very well rounded guy. He started a radio station in our Huntington Home as a pre -teen. Cuba was only 90 miles away from Long Island and he might have been ordering rum?? or trying to talk to Castro. Our Mother still had her FBI connections.. just in case.Jim also worked at a neighbor’s restaurant and ended up with most of the cooking responsibilities. He became a life long gourmet cook.. Jim also developed a love of car racing Formula A cars. He has his original car in a special McLaren room that he built recently in his Verona Island home. Race tracts I remembered seeing him race in were Bridgehampton, Watkins Glen, Limerock and PIR in Phoenix. After moving to Maine Jim dove for scallops and shared his haul with friends and family.He also started building amazing homes with one on Lake Alamoosook in E. Orland and rebuilt an 18th century home on Verona Island . Jim was always available to lend a hand and share his talents. Jim was planning a get together in July to see old friends from around the country. The family is interested to hear if you are still coming.
carol rowley adams
April 10, 2024
Dear family and friends, I would like to share Jimmy’s obituary with you.

James Charles Rowley passed on April 2, 2024 at Eastern Main medical Center in Bangor, Maine. He was surrounded by his family and hospice volunteers after a brief illness..
Jimmy was born to Martin H. Rowley and Blanche Gagnon on May 20, 1952. He graduated from Huntington high school and attended Franklin Pierce College.
Jimmy began his career as a chef on his beloved shelter island on Long Island, New York.
He had many businesses in car repair, restoration and sales from Ibex to Auto Colony being his last.
One of his passionate hobbies was racing, Formula Atlantic race cars, and collecting and restoring, classic and high-end cars.
Jim loved engineering and building things, whether it was creative houses, businesses or reassembling an old barndominium from New Hampshire, which was his final work of art on Verona Island in Maine.
Another hobby and business (Sea Discovery), was deep sea diving for scallops, and diving on sunken ships off the coast of Maine. One amazing find, was a GE lightbulb found on an old ferry in Moosehead Lake, that still worked! He sent it to General Electric, who wrote quite a featured article about it and Jim.
He is survived by his son, Jake(James M), and Fran’s two daughters, Rachel and Sarah and their families. Also, his siblings, Marty, Carol, Eddie, and Charlie and their families.
I was privileged to hold his hand with my son Jake for one last farewell family moment.
Jimmy lived life to the fullest and always loved an impossible challenge. He will be greatly missed.

Martha (Marti) Rowley
Martha Rowley
April 9, 2024
My earliest memories were of Jimmy as a todler taking apart eveyrthing. Our mother put the Chrstmas tree in a plapen to keep Jimmy from undecoratiing it.

I shared a bedroom with Jimmy for a decade or so..Atnone point we had a Lady Engine from his first Lotus sharing our room. It was rebuilt and imaculate. One memory he had that I don't remermber. was a gfight we had when he took our parents car for a joy ride when he was years away from having a licence.

While he was scallopubg, he shucked 8 pounds and overnighted them to my family forthe best ever present. He could do anything heput his mind to.nFrom repairing colling pipes on power stations to moving his first house in Maine. His last project was his beautiful barn .It starte out asthe largest and heavyest jig saw ever.

I will miss his advice and our conversations. Pack up your troubles in your kit bag and smile, smile, smile.
Marty Rowley
April 8, 2024
My memories of you are full of lobsters and the smell of the ocean! I will always remember you as the adventure, thrill-seeking uncle who was good at anything you set your heart on! May you rest in peace Uncle Jimmy <3
Nikki Rowley
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