Fred Rowan of Winchester, Virginia passed peacefully on March 10, 2020 at the age of eighty with his wife, Bernice Taylor Rowan of nearly forty years by his side. He is also survived by his son Andrew Murray Rowan and wife Kim, grandson Hunter of Smryna, Georgia, son John Frederick Rowan and wife Michelle, grandson Frederick Johnson Rowan III (Jake) and granddaughter Isabella Cecelia (Bella) of Winchester, Virginia, daughter Sarah Rowan Johnson and husband Mike, granddaughter Rowan Michael and grandson Rex Taylor of Decatur, Georgia, daughter Jessica Rowan Vest and husband Brian, granddaughters Sada Pierce and Stearnes Elizabeth of Simpsonville, South Carolina.
Fred was born in Staunton, Virginia and raised in Waynesboro, Virginia with his late sister Mary Pierce Rowan, by his late parents Bessie Bush Rowan and Archibald Early Rowan. He attended high school at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Virginia where he served as the Rifle Team Captain and third in the nation in riflery. He graduated from East Tennessee State with a degree in economics and went on to Harvard business school in Boston. Fred began his career with Dupont in Waynesboro, Virginia and then recruited to and eventually becoming President and COO of Aileen (Edinburg) where he met his wife, Bernice, they then moved to New York City. Fred went on to a career at Mast Industries/The Limited, then VF Corporation where he ran Bassett Walker, Jansport and Lee Jeans. In 1992 he and his wife and daughters, moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he became the president and CEO and eventually Chairman of the Board of Carter’s. At Carter’s, he acquired OshKosh B’Gosh and also took the company public. Upon retiring in 2008, Fred and Bernice relocated back to their home state of Virginia in 2010. In total, Fred and Bernice moved over 22 times in 7 different states. In business and in life, he was known for his leadership, remarkable skills, and brand building. Every company he turned around Fred always took care of his employees and for that he was so well thought of and respected. Fred was a true lover of the outdoors. He loved bird hunting, tennis, fishing, dogs, and he had a passion for horses, both riding and just being around them. Along with his wife, Bernice, they traveled to many countries spanning more than 3 continents and five trips alone to Africa for their love of big game hunting. Fred was a loving and giving family man through and through. He generously helped others without expecting anything in return and gave to many organizations such as Shepherd Center (Atlanta, Georgia), The Fred Rowan Family Middle School (Atlanta, Georgia) where his daughter attended high school at Holy Innocents’, Powhatan school (Boyce, Virginia) where his grandchildren Jake and Bella attended, The National Rifle Association, Wounded Warrior Project, a donation of a firearm that once belonged to Dr. David Livingston’s to the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, and always to friends and family. He was an Alabama Football fan until the end. An admirer of Bear Bryant, he always loved a winning team. Fred loved to win and be great. Fred will always be remembered by his ability to captivate a room by his presence, not to mention the signature cowboy hat, boots and a buckle. To all those who knew him, he was a true legend and will be deeply missed. For his family, a huge loss. Fred’s wishes were to not have a burial service or funeral. A celebration of his life will be held for close family and friends in the Spring.