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

About author View all posts


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

7 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

    • Hi

      I was very sad when the gallery closed in Bishop!!! I didn’t realize Tony Rowell was sick, let alone passed away. I am looking to purchase some Galen and Tony Rowell photos. Any suggestions of where I can look; in their memory. I have been an avid backpacker of the Eastern Sierras, particularly Bishop area. I can be reached at 530-386-5678 or

      Scott Terrell

  • 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

  • Tony frequented the Pigeon Point Lighthouse hostel to photograph the night skies. He was a generous and wonderful person to be around. The whole staff at PPLH will miss him.

  • It was a shock to learn of Tony’s death. I knew his father well, from the East Bay community of photographers and ASMP, and I used to bump into Tony at various photo labs and camera stores. We shared a love of landscape photography, particularly in the Eastern Sierra. I attended his astrophotography lecture & slideshow at the Albany (CA) library a few years ago and bought a copy of his book. I also used to buy his yearly calendars for my office wall. He was a shining light in the starry dark and will be missed.

  • Tony was my neighbor in Richmond CA in the early 2000’s. He had a huge heart and a lar he r then life persona. Tony and I would drink beer late into the night and sit in the hot tub as he told me about his father’s adventures and shared his love of photography and construction with me. I was just a 21 year old kid but Tony treated me like a little brother, especially considering I’d just lost my mom a few years prior. We fell out of touch over the years but, Tony, I’ll never forget you brother. I love you. You are one of a kind in the universe. Your friend, Zack.

  • Some of my favorite memories with Tony include early morning sunrises, jumping around petroglyphs, photographing lenticular clouds together, and a wonderful morning elixir that he introduced me to which he liked to refer to as “beer mosa’s”! Cheers big guy. You were an odd duck at times but today I’m remembering the better days.