Doctor Matthew Penick Rowan, a resident of San Antonio originally from College Station, Texas, was born June 15, 1982. Matt passed away at the age of 34 in the loving arms of Sunday Stewart Rowan, his beautiful bride of five months and a day, in a tragic hot air balloon accident on July 30, 2016 above pastureland in Maxwell, Texas.
Matt graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2004, The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a Master of Forensic Sciences, Toxicology in 2006, and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Pharmacology in 2011. Doctor Rowan was the Chief of Clinical Trials in Burns and Trauma at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research, and a beloved Adjunct Professor at Trinity University where he was scheduled to teach chemistry this fall. Matt had previously been an Adjunct Chemistry Professor at St. Mary’s University and Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.
Dr. Rowan was a dynamic researcher for the U.S. Army. After years of educational work and training, Matt could’ve easily gotten a job making more money, but inspired by his older brother’s time in the Iraq War was more interested in a life of service helping soldiers, veterans and other victims suffering from burns and trauma than he was his paycheck. Simultaneously, he was a passionate and beloved professor and mentor to many college students, the kind of hands-on, laid-back teacher with the ability and patience to break down the most complex information, the kind of guy everyone prays for when they register for classes as challenging as Organic Chemistry.
Matt truly was one of the good guys, brilliant but humble, welcoming and a friend to all. He loved playing volleyball, his dog Lellow, a good laugh regularly, a great cigar occasionally, and going hunting, though that was finally something we found he wasn’t so great at. He was a Christian who loved God and his family, an Aggie who bled maroon, and the kind of man who really did live the idea of leaving the world a better place. Well done, Matt. Godspeed, and gig ‘em!
Matt was survived by and adored his stepson, five year old Jett Jones, his mother, Sue Rowan, father and step-mother Terry and Brenda Rowan, brother and sister-in-law, Joshua and Paige Rowan, nephews Palmer and Brant Rowan, and numerous relatives and friends who are devastated and miss him desperately. Our families thank you all for your prayers, hugs and words of comfort during this unfathomably surreal time. We were so blessed to have Matt and Sunday in our lives, and we are blessed to have friends like you.
“All of us want to do well, but if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.” (Anna Quindlen)
A scholarship fund for students of Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry has been set up in honor of Matt to continue his spirit of commitment to helping others. Donations may be made to Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry (Matt Rowan Memorial Scholarship Fund), Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840 or online here or by clicking the GIVE NOW link on the Texas A&M Foundation homepage.
Sunday Kay Stewart Rowan, a long-time resident of the Brazos Valley, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, July 30th, 2016. Sunday was 34 years of age when she was tragically killed in a hot air balloon accident. She was with her loving husband of 5 months, Matt Rowan, 34, who was also killed in the accident.
Sunday was born on September 24th, 1981 to parents Matt and Janis Stewart. She leaves behind her 5 1/2 year old son, Jett Sunday Jones and his dad Brent Jones of Katy, Texas. Sunday is survived by her parents Matt and Janis Stewart of College Station; Uncle Joe and wife Dolores Touchton of Raceland, Louisiana; Uncle John Touchton and Uncle Roccie Soscia Washington D.C.; Aunt Marianne Stewart and husband Rick Aderholt of North Zulch; Uncle David and wife Rinza Stewart of North Zulch; and cousins James Touchton, Keith Stewart and Amanda Stewart. Sunday was preceded in death by her grandparents, Matt and Mable Stewart and J.D. and Judy Touchton. Sunday lived life to the fullest with her son Jett as her focus. She and Jett recently moved to San Antonio when she married the love of her life, Matt Rowan. They were devoted to raising Jett in a beautiful co-parenting relationship with Jett’s dad, Brent. Among her many accomplishments in her short life, Sunday was a dancer, a museum docent, avid reader, and proficient travel expert.
Sunday was known by her friends and family for being many things;chiefest among those being a comedian. One was not around Sunday long before they were laughing. She was a witty, fun loving, taco loving, proud Texan and self-proclaimed grill mistress. Sunday loved to travel and spend time with her friends and family and was almost always the planner and “cruise director” of these gatherings. Never, ever at a loss for words, Sunday used her quick wit, warm heart and intellect to make strangers feel like friends and/or family and then keep those friends and family entertained, fed, cared for and loved anytime she was around. She leaves a giant, gaping hole in the hearts of all those whose lives she touched.