John R. McGowan, Sr., a composing room employee for The Birmingham News for almost 50 years and through whose hands some of the century's most important stories passed, died Wednesday. He was 67.
Mr. McGowan retired from The News in 1974 after 49 years of work. Beginning as a printer's devil (an apprentice), he worked his way up to copy cutter, the man who directs the flow of copy from the newsroom to machine operators in the composing room.
A native of Birmingham, he lived at 1237 Princeton Ave. SW. He was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.
Funeral will be at 9:30am. Friday at the church with burial in Forest Hill, Elmwood Chapel directing. Rosary will be said at 8 tonight at Elmwood Chapel.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Georgia F. McGowan; four sons, John R. Jr., James W. and Patrick J. McGowan, Birmingham, and Robert B. McGowan, Georgetown, Ga., and a daughter, Mrs. Mary Frances Creel, Birmingham.
The family suggests any memorials be made to the American Cancer Society."
Born 9 November 1908 in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, to Patrick Henry McGowan and Elizabeth McNamara, John was the last of their ten children. He married Mildred Fratoddi in 1931, and lived in Birmingham his entire life. His children lovingly referred to him as "Big John".