General Edward Leon Rowny

General Edward Leon Rowny

April 3, 1917 - December 17, 2017

General Rowny served as Battalion Commander of the 317th Engineer Battalion from 1944 - 1945, deploying the unit to Italy. 


In Memory of  Lieutenant General (Retired Army) and Ambassador Mr. Edward Leon Rowny April 3, 1917 ~ December 17, 2017 Services will be held at Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament 3630 Quesada St NW, Washington, DC 20015; Saturday January 27, 2018 with an open casket visitation 10:00 to 10:30 a.m. and the funeral mass will follow at 11 a.m. A remembrance event and reception will begin at 1 p.m. following the service at the Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase 5520 Wisconsin Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, (301) 656-1500.

General Edward L. Rowny passed away at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington DC on Sunday, December 17, 2017, at the age of 100. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 47 years Mary Rita in 1988, and is survived by his second wife of 23 years, Elizabeth (Betty) Rowny. He also is survived by his daughter Marcia (Charles) Jordan, sons Peter (Sheila), Paul, Michael (Jane), and Grayson (Diana), 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, 2 step-children Jon (Jill) Ladd and Lyssa Ladd, and one step-granddaughter. Gen. Rowny was the son of a Polish immigrant and a Polish-American mother. This heritage was a strong influence on his life that culminated with his participation in the return of the remains of Ignacy Jan Paderewski to Poland in 1992, and later with the founding of the Rowny-Paderewski Scholarship Fund to bring Polish students to the U.S. to study American-style democracy.  Gen. Rowny graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1937 and, because he felt war in Europe was imminent, immediately entered the United States Military Academy (West Point). He graduated in 1941 and began a 38-year career in the U.S. Army. In World War II, Rowny led a battalion with the 92nd Infantry Division driving up the west coast of Italy. He was on Gen. McArthur’s staff when the Korean War began in 1950 and was a planner of the Inchon Landing. In addition to seeing combat with the X Corps, he helped to evacuate thousands of troops trapped near the Chosin Reservoir by airdropping a bridge. Early in the Vietnam War, he proved the viability of arming helicopters and creating a sky cavalry for fighting counterinsurgency operations. In 1973, President Nixon appointed Gen. Rowny as the Joint Chiefs of Staff Representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). He served under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter until retiring in 1979.  President Reagan appointed Gen. Rowny as his first Chief U.S. Negotiator for the new Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the rank of Ambassador. During Reagan’s second term, Ambassador Rowny served as his Special Advisor on Arms Control. He was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal with a citation reading “Rowny was one of the chief architects of peace through strength”. During his Army career, Gen. Rowny earned MAs from Yale in Engineering and International Affairs and a PhD in International Studies from The American University. After completing almost 50 years of continuous government service, he wrote his first book “It Takes One to Tango” in 1992, about his service to five presidents as an arms control negotiator. At the age of 96, he wrote a memoir “Smokey Joe & The General”. He assisted in writing a third book in 2014, “West Point ’41, The Class That Went To War and Shaped America”. 

Services are currently pending. Joseph Gawler’s Sons is handling funeral arrangements with burial to be at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Rowny-Paderewski Scholarship Fund by check to The Fund for American Studies, 1706 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009, and including the words “Rowny-Paderewski” on the check, or by calling (202) 986-0384.

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