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Neil Rowe

Neil F. Rowe

Thursday, February 1st, 1940 - Saturday, November 30th, 2019
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Obituary

On November 30, 2019, Neil F. Rowe, formerly of Binghamton, recently of Horseheads, NY, passed away, just two months shy of his 80th birthday. Born February 1, 1940 in Richmond, IN to Louise Belle (Hobbs) Rowe and Harold Clayton Rowe, Neil is survived by his wife Diane Rae (Johnson) Rowe, his son Christopher G. Rowe, daughter-in-law Robyn Barto Rowe, their children Morgan Olivia Rowe and Jonathan Neil Rowe, and by his daughter Patricia Rowe Pierce and son-in-law Martin J. Pierce, as well as by his niece, Tina Sue McCreary Nystro. Neil was a 1958 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School, Reynoldsburg, OH and a US Air Force Veteran, having served 1960-1968, stationed at Bentwaters AFB, near Woodbridge - Suffolk, England, Dover AFB, Dover, DE, and Langley AFB, Hampton, VA. Kept out of the cockpit by his lifelong nearsightedness, Neil satiated his thirst for flying by working as a mechanic on the flight line, keeping the birds in the air. In 1960, Neil married Diane, the young woman he took to both his high school proms, and they began their nearly 60-year odyssey together. Their first child, Chris, arrived in 1962 while they were stationed in England with the Air Force and their second, Tricia, came along in 1969 as they returned to civilian life in Binghamton. Hired out of the Air Force as a Test Engineer by the Link Group of General Precision Systems, later to become Link Flight Simulation, Neil pursued his passion for aviation technology by testing, building, and installing flight simulators at US Navy bases around the country and further. Over the years, his work took him to Brunswick, ME, Jacksonville, FL, Sunnyvale, CA, Honolulu, HI, Toulouse, France, and Adelaide, Australia. In addition to his passionate commitment to the work, Neil delighted in the adventure of traveling to new cities and living as a local for months at a time, particularly when favorable climates called him away from the Binghamton winters. Neil moonlighted with Radio Shack in the 1970’s repairing televisions, stereo components, and other electronics goods. Whether in the back of the store or working in his home workshop, Neil could take anything electronic apart, figure out how it worked and why it didn’t, and put it back together better than new. His great intellectual curiosity found constant outlet through his skilled hands, and he progressed from fixing existing equipment to building from kits such things as console televisions and the family’s first home computers in the early 1980s, teaching himself both the hardware and the programming languages required to make the new technology run. He was equally skilled in the garage workshop, spending countless hours tinkering with the family’s cars and motorcycles. Driven to make them run better or look better, he was mechanic, engineer, and artist in one. His applied creativity extended as well to wood working and finish carpentry, building, of course, the console for the console television and myriad other practical projects. Neil’s inventiveness and ingenuity made life better for all at the Rowe home. He was a musician too, playing drums in the high school marching band, and later behind the kit in The Duquesnes, a gritty house band that rocked Airmen’s clubs in Beatles-mad 1960’s England. After retiring from Link in 1996, Neil joined the training team at Universal Instruments, and continued to travel around the country, teaching new owners of Universal’s proprietary manufacturing technology how to operate and maintain their machinery. He retired for good in 2002, which gave him a lot more time to spend on the golf course, and he eventually convinced Diane to join him there, following which this perfect couple enjoyed many summers donating golf balls to various water dragons. Neil is predeceased by his parents and by his sister, Barbara Rowe McCreary, with whom he is very likely enjoying a lively debate about the various merits and foibles of her beloved Bears and his beleaguered Giants as they wait ‘til next year...again. The family wishes to invite all who knew Neil to join in a celebration of his 80th birthday on Saturday, February 1st from noon-2 at McGirk’s Irish Pub, 1 Kattelville Road, Binghamton.
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