Remembering Tony Rowell

Tony Rowell

Tony Rowell

It is with deepest sorrow that International Campaign For Tibet (ICT) & The Rowell Fund for Tibet announce the passing of Tony (Edward Anthony) Rowell on February 16th, 2019, at the age of 50.

Tony was part of the ICT family since 2003 when he, along with former ICT President John Ackerly, helped develop the Rowell Fund in honor of his late father Galen Rowell, a famed photographer and mountaineer, who was an avid supporter of the Tibetan cause. Tony became very instrumental in the success of the Rowell Fund over the years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Tony traveled to Tibet in August 2004 with National Geographic Expeditions, and has donated his photos from the trip to the International Campaign for Tibet.

Named after his Grandfather, Tony was the second child of Galen Rowell and entered this world on August 8th, 1968. (Tony’s older sister, Nicole Rowell Ryan, also a member of The Rowell Fund Advisory Board, passed away last year at the age of 54.) With Galen’s adventures, the Rowell family were always on the road heading in every direction with many summers spent in Yosemite Valley, California.

One of our favorite memories with Tony is of climbing Oregon’s tallest peak, Mount Hood. A passionate photographer, Tony documented the ascent with many pictures that left us very impressed with his talents. Tony was also an accomplished astrophotographer as well. Tony was always intrigued with space and began photographing earth-based subjects with a galactic background. His pioneering work in this field eventually led him to author his spectacular book Sierra Starlight. Tony’s photography adventures took him from the Arctic Circle to the mountains of Tibet.

Tony is preceded in death by his Father Galen, Mother Carol and his sister Nicole. Tony is survived by his two nephews Forrest Avery Ryan and Colby Dustin Ryan. Last year, Tony’s eldest nephew Forrest Ryan joined the Board of the Rowell Fund for Tibet, continuing the family’s legacy to help Tibetans safeguard their culture and traditions.

Tony will always be remembered for his kind and generous heart and big smile. He made friends everywhere he went and will be greatly missed by so many that knew and loved him. As fellow Rowell Fund Board member Conrad Anker wrote, “Tony was a joy to be with and was always a reminder of his direct connection to his father.” John Ackerly summed it up well by stating “Tony was a great advocate for Tibet and the Rowell Fund for Tibet, which he helped to co-found. Galen shot his photos quickly during the mountain light, in the early morning and late afternoon, while Tony had the patience to leave the shutter open for minutes or hours, capturing the distant stars and pondering the universe. Like meteors, they both came and went far too quickly.”

By John Jancik & Terri Baker, The Rowell Fund For Tibet

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The International Campaign for Tibet's blog periodically features guest blogs by individuals who can provide unique insight to ICT programs and current events.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • We were very close friends with Tony Rowell sine he worked for my spouse, George, in 2002-2003 as a commercial Sheetmetal worker in the Bay area.. When we moved back to So. CA later in 2003 due 2 family illnesses on both my side & George’s side, we remained very close with Tony, last speaking to him @ end of Jan. 2019. He was having so many medical issues, & always turned to me bc I was a nurse @ the time. We’d spend hours on the phone/online, comforting one another. Tony suffered from RA & took immune limiting drugs to help keep him working, but after 9 years, the drugs took his life. His immune system was shot. He will forever & always be missed & I am so sorry that his remaining family didn’t make contact with us until about 2 months after he passed. I’d have been honored to do his eulogy @ his service. We have many framed photos from Tony in our home to always remind us of our beloved friendship with him. Words cannot express my/our sadness that our closest friend passed away too young. See you on the other side, Tony! WE LOVE YOU! Lucy & George

  • To the Author: Thank you for taking the time to write such a beautiful scenario re: Tony Rowell, our forever friend who passed away too young. I loved him like a younger brother & my husband loved him like a son. Tony was George’s best friend & this loss is DEEP.
    Anyway, thank you so much for caring to write such a great story about Tony. I hope to keep in touch with you!!!! Lucy Crasnick-Ehasz

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