Beatrice “Bea” McGowan, 97, passed away peacefully on April 8, 2023, surrounded by family. Bea was known for her spunk, witty sense of humor, love for her family, and deep devotion to the Catholic faith. We all wonder what witty comment she will make to St Peter as she enters the pearly gates.
Bea was born in Brooklyn in 1926. Her heydays included growing up in Brooklyn, graduating from Girls Commercial High School, and working for New York Life in NYC. Later she married John McGowan, a WWII veteran who was a prisoner of war in Germany. After they married, they went on to have four children.
50 years ago, she moved her family to Rio Rancho NM, hoping it would help her husband John’s health and provide her four children with a better quality of life.
John passed away when Bea was 49 years old, and she had four children to raise. After catching her breath and to provide for her family, she enrolled in Technical Vocational Institute aka Central New Mexico Community College to sharpen and update her work skills. She then went on to have a successful career with the New Mexico State Health Department which served pregnant women and young children.
Bea is survived by her sister, Patricia Sheil, of Ormond Beach, FL; her brother, James Sheil, and his wife, Nancy, of Ormond Beach, FL. Her kind children, Jack McGowan and wife, Johanna, of Stuart FL; Maura Sandison and husband, Walt, of Shavano Park TX; Marty McGowan and wife, Julie, of Albuquerque, NM; and Rev. James McGowan of Corrales, NM. Her loving grandchildren: Jack McGowan and wife, Candace, of Palm City, FL, Amanda McGowan of Palm City, FL, Emily Burn and husband, Evan, of Albuquerque, Maddy McGowan of Scottsdale, AZ, and Chris Patterson and wife, Zuzana, of Albuquerque, and her great-grandchildren: Lizzy and Tyler Patterson, Avery Kopp, Roy and Abigail McGowan, Carter and Ryla Burn.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Patrick and Ellen; stepmother, Mary; sisters, Mary Sheil and Eleanor O'Hare; brothers, Joseph, William, and Richard Sheil; and grandson, Michael McGowan.
Bea was a devoted member of St. Thomas for 50 years and it was her faith that sustained her for decades. She was an active member of St. Thomas Altar Rosary Society, and Catholic Daughters. She also found joy in helping Sister Genevieve in the early days of the St. Felix Food Pantry in Rio Rancho.
Bea retired 35 years ago. Her independence and confidence allowed her to explore many new things. She bought a Merry Miler Camper and drove it all over the USA, many times by herself. She made folk art with friends and sold her creations at craft fairs. She also took up wood carving as a hobby and, in time, was quite good at it. She even traveled to a 3-day workshop in Kansas to learn a specific type of carving. That hobby brought her much enjoyment over the first 2 decades of her retirement.
A rosary for Bea will be prayed at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 1502 Sara Rd. SE, Rio Rancho, NM on Saturday, May 20 at 10 AM with a funeral mass at 10:30 AM and an 11:30 AM reception at the parish hall. Her son, Rev James McGowan, will officiate a grave-site interment at the Santa Fe National Cemetery that will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the St. Vincent De Paul c/o St. Thomas 1594 Sara Rd., Rio Rancho, NM 87124 or the charity of your choice.