Shrewsbury – Jacqueline B. Gow, 86, of Shrewsbury, died Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester, due to complications from congestive heart failure, with family at her side. Jackie was the daughter of Chester and Josepha Bushey of Newton, Kans.
Jackie was born in Kansas during the Great Depression, and so was raised with a robust sense of thrift that she passed on to her children, fitting in well with today’s goals of reduce, reuse, recycle. She helped her father take care of horses at the family stable, and got her own horse at age 11. She was a proud member of the class of ’49 of Newton High School in Newton, Kans, where she worked on the school paper and was editor of her class yearbook. During summers, she taught life-saving and crafts at the American Red Cross National Aquatic School. She then attended St. Mary of the Woods for one year before transferring to the University of Kansas, where she studied occupational therapy.
Following graduation, she worked as director of Occupational Therapy at the Psychiatric Receiving Center in Kansas City, Mo., until she married Neale A. Gow of the same city, whom she’d met on a blind date on the 4th of July. They courted for 14 months and were engaged for six more – long enough for her to finish a three-month tour of Europe with a girlfriend. Their first home was in Kansas City, where their oldest son was born, then Jackie moved east with her new family. They raised their four children mostly in Villanova, Pa., Franklin Lakes, N.J., Ocean City, N.J., and Chadds Ford, Pa.
In addition to raising children, Jackie enjoyed golf, bowling, gardening, travel and volunteer work. Her volunteering included helping out at the local hospital, working with respite care to give relief to caregivers, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and for many years, working as a sacristan for the Southgate Chapel, where she helped the priests prepare for daily and Sunday Masses.
At the Southgate at Shrewsbury retirement community, where she has lived for the last 15 years, Jackie enjoyed Pilates, playing on bocce and bowling leagues, working stage crew for the theatre, participating in the Southgate Olympics, and dining with her many friends.
Jackie loved to travel and did a fair amount of it, both at home and abroad, mostly with her husband Neale of nearly 50 years, but she was just as happy sitting on a beach in Naples, Fla., with Neale and their friends, watching the sunset on the Gulf, with supper and a “beverage.”
When asked in a life story questionnaire, “Other than raising a family or staying married, what was your biggest accomplishment?” she replied, “Raising four loving children was my biggest accomplishment. Staying married was the easy part.”
Jackie was always willing to lend a hand to those in need, whether family, friends or strangers. She is known for being gracious and thinking of others’ needs first, even when in pain (or suffering a TIA). She has strongly kept her Catholic faith throughout her life and spent many hours praying for family and friends, especially her children and grandchildren, who needed all they could get! She also prayed for the “grace of a happy death,” and we think she got one, as sad as we were to let her go.
She is predeceased by her husband, Neale A. Gow; sister Marie McCarthy; and brother-in-law Claude Mason. She is survived by her sister, Joan Mason of Wichita, Kans., and her brother-in-law, Chuck McCarthy of St. Paul, Minn. She is also survived by her four children, Neale Gow of Hinesburg, Vt., daughter-in-law Madeline Mann of Fairfax, Vt., Kathie Gow and Hollington Lee of Hatfield, Linda (Gow) and Michael Katz of Upton; and Chris and Eliza Gow of Mechanicsburg, Pa. In addition, she leaves nine grandchildren, Travis, Simon and Elena Mann-Gow; Zach and Tia Lee; Evan, Emily and Jon Katz; and Michael McCormick, as well as 14 nieces and nephews.
She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the donor’s favorite charity in Jackie’s name.
A private service will be held Jan. 13 at Southgate, Shrewsbury.