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Larry Dennis RowtonNovember 29, 1945 ~ October 26, 2017 (age 71)
Larry Dennis Rowton, 71, had an untimely passing on Thursday, October 26, 2017. A Memorial Service will be held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 2900 9th Avenue South, at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 with military honors performed by the Marine Corp League.
Larry was born on November 29, 1945 in Billings, Mt to Dawson and Margaret Rowton. He lived in Montana all his life, and is where he met the love of his life Betty J. Weisharr at Eastern Montana College. They married at the First Congregational Church in Laurel, Mt on October 14, 1966. They celebrated their 51st anniversary, October 14, 2017.
Larry graduated from Park City High School in 1964. He participated in track, basketball, football and band. He then attended and graduated from Eastern Montana College, in Billings in June of 1969, while he also played in the EMC band. There he received a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in history and music. Larry pursued a masters degree in music from the prestigious Vander Cook College of Music in Chicago. He graduated in July of 1982.
In June of 1969, Larry joined the US Marine Corp Reserve at 58th Rifle Co. and served for six years. He trained in California and South Carolina. He was later honorably discharged in 1975 and achieved the rank of Sergeant.
His professional career began in September of 1970 in Vaughn, MT, where he taught music and history, grades 1 through 8. In September of 1972 he began teaching chorus and band at Simms High School along with the Fort Shaw and Sun River Schools. After 12 years at Simms High School Larry was selected to be the Band Director for the North Middle School. He had five band groups and averaged 400 students each year. Middle school students are just getting familiar with their instruments and Larry, a very patient teacher, always welcomed the opportunity to develop fine musicians. He retired in 2008 after 38 years of teaching music.
Larry played his trumpet every Summer in the Community Band, and every year in the University of Providence Community Concert Band and the Winds of Montana. He played in smaller groups for churches, college functions and city parades. For years, Larry was called upon to serve as an adjudicator for various Music Festivals which was where schools competed for ratings, as well as working with many schools in Montana.
Larry has lived his entire life in Montana, with 47 years in Great Falls. He was very proud of his son, Jay and his grandchildren Kayla and Nick. He had tremendous love and care for his family. He enjoyed spending his time on the ski hills at Glacier National Park, hunting, fishing, traveling, hiking, golfing and seeking adventures for his family. He also enjoyed traveling across the globe including Europe, Jamaica, and numerous other states in the US with his family. He also enjoyed yoga classes every Saturday and was the Cross Country Coach at North Middle School for many years.
He served as Secretary/Treasurer for Montana Bandmasters Association 1987-88 and as Secretary for the Montana Music Educators Association 1993-94. He was also the Organizing Chair for the Montana All-State Band in 1994, and was a member of Phi Beta Mu international bandmasters’ honorary fraternity. Larry was also on the board of the Montana Senior Olympics, and a past board member of PBS. He was a voracious reader and has accumulated a substantial library of his favorites.
Larry will be remembered for his great smile and friendly manner with everyone. He was literally the “go to guy” always willing to help friends and family with projects, errands and whatever else was needed.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents and one sister.
He is survived by his wife, Betty J. Rowton; son, Jay D. Rowton; grandchildren, Kayla J. Rowton, and Nicholas “Nick” D. Rowton; and sister, Mary Ellen Penninger.
Donations are suggested to Montana Heart Association, 600 Central Avenue #219 Great Falls, Montana 59401.