Donald James Gower - age: 86
(November 20, 1931 to August 16, 2018
Tremendous Heartfelt Thanks to the truly exceptional staff at Commpassus!! In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Compassus 23 Spring Street Suite C Scarborough, Maine 04074.
Please join us at Dennett Craig and Pate Funeral Home 365 Main Street, Saco, Maine Friday October 5th at 10am. Followed by a Full Honor Military burial at Black Point Cemetery in Scarborough. Reception will be at Donald's home.
SACO-Donald James Gower, a tall, thin and soft spoken man passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday August 16, 2018. He was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of over 60 years, Charlotte Hildegard Gower.
Donald was born into the height of the great depression on November 20, 1931 in Black Point Scarborough, Maine, to his father Philip Gower and his mother Helen Bowley-Gower. He was predeceased by his sister Margaret Doody-Cote, and his brothers Raymond and Richard Gower. Their father passed away when Donald was 4 years old. The Gower children would also lose their mother 7 years later. Living with their mothers sister, Francis and her husband, Joe Morse and 3 sons, Ken, Bill and Gary until arrangements were made for the orphaned children.
Entering the military finally gave Don a discipline he understood and needed. Aside from his wounds received in Vietnam, Don's life was punctuated by serious health problems that he continued to miraculously overcome. He survived years of ruptured ulcers, bladder cancer, lung cancer, 2 strokes, resuscitated from 2 fatal heart attacks, pneumonia over 20 times, sepsis, to mention just a few. A true warrior.
Don's military service was extraordinary. 2 years in the Maine National Guard, 20 years in the Army. 18 of those years were in tanks until he received orders for Vietnam. January 1969, Sgt First Class Donald James Gower assumed the leadership of a helicopter platoon. The platoon under his command consisted of ten OH6A scout helicopters and a contingent of 30 men, 10 pilots, 10 forward observers, and 10 crew chiefs. Their mission was to ferret enemy gunfire and to provide cover for the South Vietnamese ARVN troops. Often unorthodox and outrageous tactics. He would himself be shot down three times in the small bubble shaped helicopters called LOACH's.
In a 10 month hailstorm of bullets and mortar rounds Sgt Gower earned two air medals, two purple hearts, two Army commendation medals, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and numerous citations for meritorious service, bravery and heroism. What also made his tour exceptional was that he had two sons who had already received purple hearts. His oldest son Gunter had his leg showered with shrapnel when a hand grenade exploded while serving in the Marines. His son Albert stepped on a land mine which exploded and filled his lungs with shrapnel while serving in the Army. The Things They Still Carry.
When he retired from the military in 1971 jobs were few and far between for Vietnam Veterans. He did find work with Maietta Construction and became a heavy machine operator for over 20 years. He took extreme pride in his work. Even after working long hard days he kept busy with fixing up his homes and his many hobbies, painting, hooked rugs,and difficult 3-D puzzles, some with working clocks. His beautiful gardens. He was an avid reader and loved old country as much as he loved his cats.
He leaves behind Gunter Gower and his deceased wife Sherri Jordan-Gower of Cape Elizabeth. Albert Gower and his wife Nancy Scammon-Gower of Buxton. Helen and Chuck Herron of Florida. Donna Gower-Kantor and Gene Bahr of Sebago. Ronna Gower and David Reamer of Florida. His son-in-law Frank Kantor of Casco. His grandchildren Josh and Kristen Gower of Buxton, Deane and Jen Gower of Scarborough, Luke and Lori Gower of Gorham, Jordan and Lyndsey Gower of Saco, Anthony Kantor and Britteny Gosbee of Casco. His nine great-grandchildren, Brianna, Jacob and Emily. Hannah and Connor. Cameron and Kai. Elliott and Elizabeth. So Many nieces and nephews!! His wonderful neighbors and friends!! He Loved You All!!