GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Daniel Francis McGowan, 62, of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully Tuesday, May 20, 2014, surrounded by his family. Dan was a lifelong resident of Dixon, who recently moved north to marry the love of his life, Jeanine Marie Devlin McGowan.
At 18 years of age, he began a career in mental health at the former Dixon Developmental Center. His profound respect for all people, including those with developmental disabilities, brought him notice. He was selected to become a mental health specialist, who trained others in best practices with the developmentally disabled. When DDC closed in 1984, Dan transferred to Singer Mental Health Center and devoted his energies to individuals with mental illness. His role there included work reintegrating seniors in the community, and later managing a unit of residents, who were dangerously mentally ill. He was passionate in his respect for others, and he worked tirelessly to maximize quality of life for all his clients. He rounded out his career at the Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, where for 5 years he represented wishes and bests interests of individuals unable to advocate for themselves. This was Daniel’s favorite segment of a career of impacting lives, those he represented, as well as his colleagues.
Dan loved sports, focusing on softball and umpiring in his early years, and whittling down his golf handicap in more recent years. Anyone who knew Dan knew that he was forever loyal to the Chicago Cubs, Green Bay Packers, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Blackhawks.
He attended college later in life and was proud of his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Illinois University. However, his crowning achievement was his two children, Daniel John (Christina) and Amanda Marie (Matthew) Wriggins.
He also is survived by his stepchildren, Jonna Devlin Moll and Brendan Devlin; grandchildren, Rayleigh (Paul) Hutschenreuter and Shayna McGowan, Zane Matthew Wriggins, and Jeremy and Austin Bonine; and great-grandchildren, Joshua and Asher Hutschenreuter. Also left to mourn his passing are his brothers, Donald, Mike (Holly), and Tim (Patrick), and his big sis, Peggy Amenda, along with his many Devlin in-laws. He also will be missed dearly by all nieces and nephews, cousins, and their families, along with many cherished friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald Francis and Mary Lou (Kelly) McGowan, his sister-in-law, Sandra McGowan, and his brother-in-law, Bob Amenda.
A memorial will be at 11 a.m. today at Frontline Church, 4411 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. Locally, a grand celebration of his life will be at 11 a.m. June 14 at Elks Page Park pavilion in Dixon.