ashland.news
May 25, 2024

Obituary: Doug Rowe

Doug Rowe in an episode of "MASH."
May 22, 2023

1938 — May 13, 2023

Douglas Rowe, 85, a retired actor/director, golfer, and lifelong fisherman and baseball fan, passed away peacefully at Asante Medical Center in Medford on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

Doug was born in Patterson, New Jersey, and grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He then attended Bates College in Maine where he caught the acting bug and learned to play golf for the first time.

After a stint in the Army Reserves, Doug joined Screen Actor’s Guild and Actor’s Equity as the 1,000th member; living in New York, acting and watching Jackie Robinson play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, so did Doug, to continue watching his favorite team and further pursue his acting career in Hollywood.

Over the next three decades he would appear in numerous TV shows, movies, and commercials, while also serving two stints as the Artistic Director of the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach, California starting in the 1960s. This is where he met many lifelong friends, including the love of his life, Catherine, when he cast her as “Dream Girl” in a play he was directing. They were married on the banks of the Deschutes River, Oregon, in 1980.

Their two sons, Bill and Jackson, were the light of his life. In 1996, Doug received an offer to play Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and the family moved to Oregon.

Doug continued to serve the arts community on many levels, acting, doing readings, directing several plays including at Ashland High School, and serving as director of the Ashland New Plays Festival. He also appeared in numerous local films and other projects. He even directed his own son Jackson as John Proctor in “The Crucible” and in “Our Town” at AHS, and acted alongside both of his boys on different film projects.

He was so very proud of his family. His wife Catherine became a successful real estate broker once their sons were in high school, and both boys pursued careers in the two things Doug loved most: baseball and filmmaking. He watched his son Bill win a College World Series with Oregon State University in 2006, and Jackson became a assistant director who just finished his fifth project with HBO called “The Sympathizer.”

In his later years, Doug experienced several health issues that slowed him down, but you could never keep him from the golf course. He also enjoyed pheasant hunting with his son Bill and his beloved English Setter Shiloh. Even after multiple surgeries and procedures, the goal of getting back out on the golf course and hunting and fishing again was always his main motivation. During the day, he could be found doing crosswords, feeding birds or mowing the lawn, and in the evenings he was usually on the porch with a glass of wine, admiring the last hours of sunlight bathing the local mountains.

He had many friends, was much loved, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

To see a 24-minute video produced by Southern Oregon PBS of Douglas Rowe talking about his career, move to Ashland and work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, click here.

Obituaries may be submitted to Ashland.news via our online article submission form, or via email to news@ashland.news, with a photo or two attached if desired. Please be sure to include dates of birth and death, and reference to connections to Ashland/Talent/Southern Oregon. Please allow a few days for posting. There is no charge. Those wishing to make a donation supporting the Ashland.news service may do so here.

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