Rev. Dr. Robert Charles Ford Rowe was a native of South Carolina, born in Dillon County on April 1, 1936 to the late Stellie D. Ford and late Eartha Mae Conyers. He peacefully transitioned into eternal rest after a brief illness on Saturday, April 25th, 2020 in Bronx, New York at Jacobi Medical Center.
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After leaving South Carolina, Rev. Rowe lived with his grandparents, Elizabeth Conyers Paige and Jason Paige in Baltimore, Maryland, for a time. He and his family, then, moved to New York City. He is the only child of Eartha Conyers and Stellie Ford. He is also the oldest of ten children born to Stellie Ford. Rev. Rowe attended and graduated from Baltimore and New York City public schools, including Seward Park High School; where he was a varsity athlete and track champion. Additionally, he served his country by joining the Army and completing his two-year obligation before receiving an honorable discharge.
Rev. Rowe earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science (New York City Community College of Arts and Science), a Bachelor of Science (New York University), a Master of Arts (New York University), a Master of Divinity (New York Theological Seminary), and a Doctorate of Ministry (New York Theological Seminary). Rev. Rowe received his doctorate degree at the age of 80.
Rev. Rowe received Christ early in his life at the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, under the pastorate of the Late Rev. Dr. O. Clay Maxwell, Sr. Rev. Rowe served the ministry as a Sunday school teacher at Co-op City Baptist Church under the late Rev. Julius Sapportas. He also served as a Trustee, Church Treasurer and Deacon at St. Luke Baptist Church under the late Rev.Dr.Walter L. Harding. Rev. Rowe and his late wife, Cynthia served as co-directors of the Methodist Youth Fellowship at Tremont Methodist Church under the late Rev. C Lloyd Lee. Rev. Rowe was licensed and ordained into the ministry at St. Luke Baptist Church in Harlem, New York.
Rev. Rowe was a member of the Most Worshipful Enoch Grand Lodge, A. F. & A. M. of the State of New York, St. John Lodge No 46. (Brooklyn). Rev. Rowe’s community involvement included Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Consumers Federal Credit Union, Treasurer of the South Bronx Mental Health Center Board and Social Services consultant and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Trabajamos Head Start Program. He retired after 32 years of employment in the human service field with the City of New York and in administration with the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center. Rev. Rowe served also as registrar at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut and Instructor at Lehman College, Bronx, New York. Rev. Rowe was a member of the Baptist Minsters’ Conference of Greater New York and Vicinity.
Rev. Rowe served as the Assistant to the Pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, after being called by the late Rev. Dr. Adolf Roberts from 1990 until Rev. Roberts’ death. In this capacity, he over saw prayer meetings and the Christian Education department. He served as the preacher in charge of the men’s ministry.
Rev. Rowe established an annual Christmas caroling ministry, which served hospital and nursing homes in the Harlem community. Rev. Rowe led a church sponsored bible study in Co-op City for many years, as well. Rev. Rowe was a circuit preacher for the American Baptist Churches servicing the five counties of New York City, including Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
Rev. Rowe was preceded in death, by his wife of forty-five years, Cynthia Thomas Rowe; his son, Robert Charles Rowe, Jr.; mother, Eartha M. Rowe; father, Stellie D. Ford; step mother, Irene Smith; step father, David Smith; brothers, Stellie D. Ford, Jr. George Ford, Elliot “Stup” Brockman; and a sister Chessie Mildred Ford; and brothers in law Lascelles Straker, Malloy Saunders and James Edwards, Sr.
He leaves to mourn his passing and celebrate his life: his two daughters, Andrea (Cornelius) Crittenden and Emily (Anthony) Rowe-Smith. His four grandchildren: Daniel Crittenden (“Critt”), Faith Crittenden, Joshua Crittenden (“My Walking Stick”) and Anthony Smith, Jr. (“Little A”). His sisters and brothers: Jazzi Thomas, Marian Saunders, Moesann (Bobbie) Edwards, Pat Ford, Pearl (George) Eggleston, JoAnn Holden, Richard (Mildred) Ford and Derrick (Fontella) Brockman. His sisters and brothers in law: Ceylema Straker, Delphina Thomas, Rose Martin, Kenneth (Joan) Thomas, Norman R. (Sonia) Thomas, Allan (Yvonne) Thomas and Andrew (Donna-Marie) Thomas, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Rev. Rowe ‘s favorite scripture was Romans 10:15 “And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Rev. Rowe was loved by many and will be sorely missed by many.
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