Kathleen Murphy “Kathy” Rowen

Kathleen Murphy “Kathy” Rowen

August 6, 1945 – December 15, 2019


Loving mother of five and Mimi to 12 grandchildren passed away peacefully surrounded by her children at her Lake Candlewood home on December 15th. Preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, James Thomas (Tom) Rowen, parents Charles Thomas Murphy and Kathleen Hatch Murphy, Edina, MN and brother Thomas Charles Murphy, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Survived by daughter Kelly Rowen Gage (Scott) of Loch Lloyd, MO and their children Charlie, Jack and Leo; daughter Molly Rowen Carroll (Adam) of Bend, OR and their children Tommy and Cora; son Tommy Rowen (Meghan) of Omaha and their children James and Margaret (Magee), son Michael Rowen (Christie) of St. Louis, MO and their children Kellan, Rylan and Grady and son Leo Rowen (Betsy) of Denver, CO and their children Oliver and Murphy and brothers Robert Murphy (Diane), Dave Murphy (Pam), brother-in-law James Rowen (Terri), sisters-in-law Anne Murphy, Kate Rowen, and Judy Johnson and numerous nieces and nephews.

Kathy, who was born and raised in Edina, MN comes from a long history with the city of Minneapolis. Her grandmother, Cora Larpenteur’s family and Henry Sibley founded St. Paul, Minnesota. Cora Larpenteur Murphy’s great grandfather was Auguste Louis Larpenteur who built the first frame house, brick store, and post office in St. Paul. Larpenteur Avenue, a main thoroughfare in “The Cities” is named after Kathy’s family.

Kathy graduated high school from Holy Angels Academy in Edina, Minnesota and attended Creighton University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  Anyone who knew Kathy would not be surprised to hear that she won the Miss Cutie award at Creighton that raised money for the United Way. After graduating from college she was an elementary school teacher for two years until the birth of her first child.  She then began her committed career of being a loving mother to her five children.

Kathy contributed countless hours to her Omaha community. She was politically engaged by volunteering in local, state and federal elections. Kathy was part of numerous organizations such as the Omaha Law League, Junior League, Joslyn Art Museum, Clarkson Hospital, Designer Show House, Happy Hollow Country Club, and St. Francis House. Kathy was also dedicated to parochial education at St. Joan of Arc, Duchesne Academy and as an active member on the Marian High School and Creighton Prep Moms club. Kathy was most recently on the Father Flanagan League board to canonize Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan. One of her greatest accomplishments was in 2012 when she arranged to bring from France the statue of St. Jeanne Jugan, the 19th Century foundress of the religious order, Little Sisters of the Poor, to Creighton University. The miraculous cure of Creighton alumnus Dr. Edward Gatz led to Sister Jeanne’s canonization in 2009.  The statue was placed in the garden of McGloin Hall on Creighton’s campus in honor of Rev. Richard D. McGloin S.J. who prayed with Dr. Gatz and his wife to seek the intercession of Sister Jeanne Jugan for the miracle.

Kathy was a long-standing member of the Happy Hollow Country Club where she loved playing golf with her beloved golf group. In 2017, she won the 18 Hole Best-Ball Partner’s tournament.  When her husband Tom passed away in 2011, she and her children set up the Tom Rowen Junior Golfer Achievement Award that recognizes one girl and one boy Junior Golfer each season who exemplifies good sportsmanship, personal character, and respect for the game. Each winner selects a charity close to their heart to receive the donation of the award money in that Junior Golfer’s name. She passed on her love of golf to her children and grandchildren. Kathy was also passionate about supporting Nebraska Cornhusker football, watching Jeopardy, working on crossword puzzles, playing bridge, spending endless hours with her grandchildren, and spending time at her cabin on Lake Okoboji with her children and grandchildren.  Kathy was notorious for anonymously dropping off chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars, or a gift on friends’ porches and doorsteps. These treats were usually delivered as a token of support in the recipient’s time of need or congratulations in time of celebration.

Kathy was a devout Catholic and lived a faith-filled life which was demonstrated every day in everything she did. She religiously attended daily mass, endlessly prayed Novenas, regularly planted flowers outside of her church, Boys Town, for every season, and planned a retirement celebration for Rev. Aloysius McMahon, Fr. “Mac,” who loved her dearly. She also spent hours learning more about her faith. She started to write books about the lives of the saints and the number of times the number three is mentioned in the bible and in Christ’s life. She loved and relied on her faith beyond words.

Kathy was truly beautiful on the inside and out.  She had a beautiful style that was classic yet, so modern and inside she had a heart of gold always thinking about others before herself. On December 15th this world lost a truly singularly extraordinary woman who touched so many lives. Heaven gained a lot of chocolate chip cookies, laughter and love. We will miss her warm smile, loving heart, and selfless soul.

Wake Service: Thursday, December 19th, 7 pm at West Center Chapel with family receiving friends from 5:30 pm to 7 pm. Mass of Christian Burial: Friday, December 20th, 10:30 am at St. Margaret Mary’s Church, 6116 Dodge St. Interment, Resurrection Cemetery.  Memorials are suggested to Little Sisters of the Poor.



  • Karol and Ivan Streit Posted December 17, 2019 7:24 pm

    There are no words to extend the comfort I would love to send to all of the Rowen and Murphy families. We spent so much time talking about our families while playing golf, at times it may have taken priority over a double digit score!!!! There was no question that she absolutely adored her children and grandchildren and loved spending time together. My sincerest condolences to all. Kathy will be sorely missed by her Happy Hollow family

  • Paul and Jeanne Taylor Posted December 17, 2019 8:49 pm

    We were so sorry to hear of Kathy’s passing. She was my roommate at Creighton and we had such good times together. I will miss her. Jeanne and Paul Taylor

  • Nancy Lykke Posted December 18, 2019 11:50 am

    Rowen family,
    I am part of the Happy Hollow 18 hole League that Kathy played in. She was a delight to play golf with, and many of us have said, she was “ a ray of sunshine” anytime she entered the room or came on to the course.
    Deepest sympathy to all.

  • Cady Wolf Posted December 18, 2019 5:53 pm

    Thinking of her magic and warmth every day when I look at the $2 bill she sent me. What’ a great lady!

  • Iris G Kewin Posted December 18, 2019 6:49 pm

    It is with great sadness, my husband and I feel the loss of a beautiful lady. Kathy always took the time to say hello, give an unexpected hug and, most of all, give a beautiful smile which would brighten up anyone’s day. We will dearly miss seeing her around Happy Hollow Club and being a wonderful neighbor. Iris & Happy Kewin

  • Julie McGill Posted December 19, 2019 12:09 am

    To all of the Rowen kids – Your mom was one in a million. She had such a loving way about her and made everyone feel special. She was a devoted friend and neighbor. My parents were soo blessed to have Tom and Kathy as close friends for over 40 years. May the perpetual light shine upon her.

  • Rudy & Judy Tesar Posted December 19, 2019 9:36 am

    Our hearts are broken with the news of your Mother’s passing. Both of your parents were friends of ours for over 50 years. Your dear Mother was a friend to anyone she met. Her warm smile and engaging voice made you think you were the only one in the room. Rudy and I are currently out-of-town and unfortunately we left on the day her passing was announced in the paper. Please know you are All in our thoughts and we wish we could hug each of you.

  • Lori Black Posted December 19, 2019 2:23 pm

    I did not know Kathy but a dear friend of mine knew and loved her very much. My friend and I had not seen each other for over 30 years and the day we reunited Kathy had dropped off two packages at my friend’s house. One for me and one for my friend. This woman did not even know me and I was extremely touched that she thought of me and Erica and I rekindled friendship. That gesture speaks mountains and as I read her obituary it did not surprise me to hear that she anonymously left cookies and gifts to people. I wish I had been able to meet her. I am so sorry to the family for the loss of this obviously very dear woman.

  • Christie Murphy Posted September 2, 2020 4:12 pm

    Yes miss you too much aunts Kathy

    • Christie Murphy Posted January 1, 2021 8:55 pm

      Christie miss you too much Kathy Rowan

Sign Guestbook

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *