Vivian George Rowley

Vivian George Rowley

MONONA – Vivian George Rowley, age 95, passed away on Friday, June 13, 2014, at the Oakwood Village East Retirement Community.

He was born on May 3, 1919, on a farm in Muscoda, Wis., the son of Alva and Almeda Rowley. He grew up in Blue River, Wis., attending elementary and high school there. Following graduation in 1937, he worked as an apprentice cheesemaker. After receiving his license as a Wisconsin cheesemaker, he was employed by different factories. In March of 1940 he left Wisconsin to work as the cheddar cheesemaker at a large plant in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1942, he was employed by Beatrice Foods in Cadillac, Mich.

Viv was also a veteran of World War II. In 1943, he was called into the armed service and assigned to the 112th cavalry regiment in the Pacific. He served from 1943-45 on the islands of New Britain, New Guinea, the Philippines (Leyte and Luzon), and in the army of occupation of Japan. Viv was discharged in December of 1945 and, because of war-related problems, was advised to enroll in the UW Department of Agriculture. He graduated from UW-Madison in Dairy Food Science in 1949 and was hired as a milk sanitarian by the Department of Agriculture. In 1955, he was employed as Sales Manager by the Marschall Dairy Laboratory. Subsequently Marschall was sold to Miles Laboratories and later Miles sold out to Bayer Chemicals of Leverkusen, Germany. He retired from Bayer as vice president of the Marschall Division in 1984.

In 1958, Viv’s first wife passed away, leaving him with two children, Ruth Ann and Mary Jo. In 1959, he married Marjorie C. (Fix) Harker, a widow with two children of her own, Suzanne and John. The two of them combined their families that year and the Rowleys made a home of six. Together they enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Viv and his wife were long time members of Lake Edge United Church of Christ. He was also a lifetime member and past president of the Optimist Club of East Madison-Monona; lifetime member of VFW Post No. 7591; member of the Wisconsin State Historical Society; and the Civil War Roundtable.

Viv will always be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather. He will also be remembered for his thoughtful prayers before meals, positive attitude, and great sense of humor.

Viv was preceded in death by his parents; older brother, Fay; and first wife, Josephine.

He is survived by his loving wife, Marjorie; four wonderful children: Ruth Ann Wheeler of Oconto, Wis.; Suzanne Harker (Dale Weidemann) of Madison; John (Mary) Harker of Madison; and Mary Jo Spindler of Ft. Dodge, Iowa; seven grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; and a nephew, Dick (Kathy) Rowley of Portage, Wis.

Funeral services will be held at LAKE EDGE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 4200 Buckeye Road, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014, with the Rev. Lex Liberatore presiding. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until time of the service on Friday at the church. A private entombment will be held at Roselawn Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to Lake Edge United Church of Christ.

A special thank you to the staff at Oakwood Village East, Rehab and the Meadows, and also Agrace HospiceCare for all their loving care and attention.

Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson East
Funeral & Cremation Care
5203 Monona Drive