Dr. Charles McGowan

Dr. Charles E. McGowan

July 27, 1931 - October 27, 2019
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WESTFORD - Dr. Charles E. McGowan, a well-known and beloved oral and maxillofacial surgeon, practiced for over 31 years in Lowell and Nashua, NH passed away on Sunday, October 27, 2019. He was the devoted husband of the late Marie L. (Louis) McGowan for 60 years until her passing in 2016. He recovered from a brief illness and was released from Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley on Thursday, October 24. He told the Medical Director at the rehabilitation center that he had obligations and things he needed to do. Charlie attended his 70th Winchester High School Reunion in Burlington the next day. He died four days later and just one day shy of the third anniversary of his wife Laurie’s passing.

Charlie was born on July 27, 1931 in Woburn, MA, the son of Charles E. and Lucy A. (Baylis) McGowan. He graduated from Winchester High School in 1949. He attended Tufts University and completed admission requirements in three undergraduate years and was accepted into the Tufts Dental School. Charlie was a lieutenant in the Navy Dental Reserve Corps and had active duty at Boston’s First Naval District in the Charlestown Shipyard.

Charlie and Laurie met on a blind date on New Year’s Eve in 1952 and the rest is history. Cardinal Cushing married them on June 9, 1956 and the day after their wedding they both attended their respective college graduations.

He lived a rich life of 88 years and was a true Renaissance man. He loved hunting, fishing, boating, gardening, skiing, woodworking and skeet shooting. Truthfully there wasn’t anything Charlie couldn’t do. If there was a will there was a way. He was a devoted customer of L.L. Bean since his early teens and proudly shared his collection with their corporate archives. His Dyer boat “Lan Mara” (Gaelic for “High Tide”) was moored in Quissett Harbor and was a joy for many family and friends. He was generous, kind, and compassionate. He and Laurie loved entertaining and hosting family and friends. Who in their right mind would invite a dozen people over for a holiday or gathering? Fortunately they had the largest heart and home to host many occasions.

Charlie and Laurie loved to travel and visited Europe countless times. Winter travel included tropical places including weeks at a time in St. Barts where they became friends with the locals as they did everywhere they traveled.

He had a knack for limericks, storytelling, and conversation. He wrote a book, “Cross Border Tales” in 2015, as a memoir including his New Brunswick, Canada family history and took great pride in publishing it. He set up a scholarship in his uncle’s name and all proceeds from the sales of his book go to a Nackawic High School senior graduate.

His pride and joy was his large family – eight girls and two boys - a true Irish Catholic Family. Charlie and Laurie were only children so they certainly made up for it and were very unselfish. They raised their family in Chelmsford, Westford, and Falmouth, MA. In the earlier years they owned a second home in Ashland, NH and their children were taught to ski, fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors. His children are Laurie A. (David) Dionne and children Lindsey, Cassandra, Andrew, and Patrick of Texas, Charles E. Jr. (Joanna) of Scituate and sons Charles III and Matthew of Whitman and New Bedford, Jean M. (James) Burbine of Maine and daughters Jacqueline and Kelley of Clinton, Margaret A. (John) Mahan and children Sarah, Jack, Kelan, and Maggie of Andover, Laurence J. (Nancy) McGowan and Larry Jr., Lauren, and Nicole of Virginia, Mary A. (Matthew) Mulkern and daughters Shannon and Meaghan of Westford, Elizabeth (Leonard) Jolles of Framingham and children Kate and Paul of Worcester and Somerville, Christine E. (Paul) Donahue and children Edward, Ella, and Kiera of Winchester, Paula Kondos and daughters Lily and Ruby of Maine, and Katherine E. (Hilary) Davis and children Meredith, Colby, and Charlotte of Falmouth and ten great grandchildren.
Visiting Hours will be held on Sunday from 1:00 - 6:00 pm at the Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home, 24 Worthen St., Chelmsford.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday at 10 o'clock at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church, 107 N. Main St., WESTFORD.

Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to: The George Rockwell Memorial Scholarship. Nackawic High School, c/o Sean Newlands, Principal, 30 Landegger Drive, Nackawic, New Brunswick, Canada E6G 1E9.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    November 3, 2019 | 1:00pm - 6:00pm
    November 3, 2019 1:00pm - 6:00pm
    Blake Chelmsford Funeral Home
    24 Worthen Street
    Chelmsford, MA 01824
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Mass of Christian Burial

    November 4, 2019 | 10:00am
    November 4, 2019 10:00am
    St. Catherine of Alexandria Church
    107 North Main Street
    WESTFORD, MA 01886
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


  • American
  • US Navy


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Private Condolence

Rose Staples

Posted at 05:41am
Dr. McGowan will be forever missed he came into my life several years from a meeting at the Fredericton archives. I overheard him speaking about Rossville and Southampton so I thought I must get acquainted with thim. Very quickly I learned he knew several of my family. It was joy to work with him as we discovered his family history together. I happened to be at the archives on his last visit. I loved hearing about his new project that he was working on. I hope some of his family will take up the torch and finish it for him. I was delighted to see him and chat with him again. May God Bless and comfort all his family as they walk the journey of grief.

Patsy Willing Macaluso

Posted at 05:37pm
In the short time that I worked with Charlie, I had the privilege of getting to know a truly extraordinary man. We reminisced over childhood friendships and stories of Winchester “back in the day.” He gushed over his bride and told loving stories of his devoted family. He was a true gentleman who cared for all who came in contact with him. I write this tribute with deep sadness over his passing, but feel better knowing that he has finally been reunited with his Laurie. My heart goes out to the whole McGowan clan. Thinking of you all and hoping that all of your cherished memories bring a smile to your face and ease your pain during this difficult time.

Losa Nosa

Posted at 12:23pm
I met Dr. McGowan when he came to our office to meet with Dr. Stone. Dr. Stone was running late so I was able to talk with him in our conference room for almost an hour. I learned a lot about the history of our practice. I also enjoyed talking with him, he was knowledgeable, personable and very kind. Thank you Dr. McGowan for giving me that wonderful hour.


Posted at 06:35pm
I remember well walking into work for the first time in March of 1967, straight from my job in the emergency room at St. John's Hospital, where I met Dr. McGowan for the first time. I worked for Dr. McGowan for almost 7 years. Truly one of the best experiences of my life. I learned so much from this wonderful gentleman; about oral surgery and about life. Charlie was a true gentleman, loving husband and father and I will miss talking with him and our lunches at Stonehenge. Peace, now and always.

Pam Jones

Posted at 01:47pm
I'm very sorry to hear this news. I had started at his oral surgery practice shortly before his retirement so only had the privilege of working with him for a short time. I can easily say he was one of the kindest people I've ever had the good fortune to meet. Heaven is rejoicing without a doubt. Rest in peace.
Pam Jones

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