PITTSFIELD – Reporters often want to write their own obituary and Ann McGowan was no exception. A few years ago Ann handed her children an outline for her obituary along with the photo she wanted to publish with it, “I look the best in this one.” Ann Boyd McGowan, 87, died during a snowstorm on the afternoon of March 14, 2023, in her home in Pittsfield, Maine, holding hands with her husband Barney.She was born in Skowhegan, Maine on March 28, 1935, an only child raised by a single mother, Ellen Marie Hastings, on Bloomfield Street. She graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1953 and married her high school sweetheart, Bernard ”Barney“ McGowan. They were married for 69 years. Four children would come in quick succession, Jennifer, Patrick, Jolene and Jill – “the bonus child” Jean would arrive nine years later. A knock on the door by a stranger in 1961 would change her future. A neighbor, who was a newspaper editor for the Morning Sentinel, needed a correspondent for the community of China. He told her she would be paid 15 cents an inch and 5 cents a photo. She jumped at the chance to supplement their family income and, as she shared with her readers in one of her hundreds of columns, it also gave her a break from the routine of changing diapers and picking up toys. To quote Ann: “After a couple weeks of gathering the news I knew I was on to something. I loved it.” In 1963, the family moved to Pittsfield where she was hired as the Pittsfield correspondent, paid $35 dollars a week. Ann covered every town meeting, anniversary, wedding, sports event, murder, accident, and fire – often with her son Patrick in tow to take photos while she wrote copy. From 1963-78 Ann worked at home covering the news and writing feature stories, interviewing famous and non-famous people alike, including Margaret Chase Smith, Bernard Langlais, Della Reese, Mickey Rooney, Rosemary Clooney, Henry Fonda, Barbara Cooney, and First Lady Rosalynn Carter to name just a few. She wrote about pressing topics that are still relevant today: prison reform, being Black in Maine, teen suicide, and women in the workplace. Every day one of her kids would be coerced to dash on bike or foot to meet the bus in front of Humphrey’s Drug Store so her copy and photo negatives would make it to press on time at the Morning Sentinel headquarters in Waterville. In 1979, just as Barney was changing careers to become a proprietor of a restaurant, motel and store in West Pittsfield; Ann began to work full-time at the paper, commuting daily to Waterville. She worked double duty for many years, arriving home from a full of day of covering the news to hostessing at the family restaurant. She often used Barney as her foil in her weekly column, he was her muse. He took the endless public ribbing in stride with a smile and a puff off his signature pipe – he charged on doing whatever he wanted to do knowing the consequences might be made public. She looked to family and friends as inspirations for stories.In 1980, Ann was on her way to work when her oldest daughter, Jennifer, went into labor with her second child. She stopped to think for a minute, and then said, “Okay, I’ll drive you and then I’ll write a story about it.“ She grabbed her camera and note pad and off they went. The next Saturday the Sentinel published a full page feature story about Jennifer’s natural birth of Ann’s granddaughter, Hannah, in a barn in Strong, Maine. She was promoted three times during the next phase of her career – as features editor, editorial page editor and then finally the top job, managing editor.A recent story in the Morning Sentinel about her career stated that, “McGowan was considered a trailblazer for female journalists in Maine, having entered the field in the early 60’s when newsroom positions were long filled by men. She was the first woman to hold the top editorial position.”Her coworker, Darla Pickett said, “Don’t let her soft voice and gracious manner fool you, …she knew community journalism like the back of her hand. She knew that readers really feel ownership of their local newspaper and she made them part of it. When she became managing editor, it became even more apparent. It was a joy to watch.” She retired from the Morning Sentinel in 1996. Not one to stay idle, she would always say: “I’ve never been bored a day in my life.” She wrote two books after her retirement – the first was the History of the Cianbro Construction Company. She then spearheaded a 1.5-million-dollar renovation for the town of Pittsfield’s 100-year-old Carnegie Library and then again for the Sebasticook Valley Hospital. Ann was known as being extremely frugal – never one to break a twenty if she didn’t have to – but had no problem asking for the big bucks to get the project done.She loved her community, friends and especially her children and grandchildren. As one of her many granddaughters said, “She laughed at our jokes and told us all we were beautiful right up until the end.”Ann suffered from vascular dementia for the last five years of her life. Even as her memories faded, she never lost the connection and devotion to her husband, Barney. She told her five children over and over how much she loved him and the life they had together.A celebration of Life will be held in Pittsfield at McGowan’s home on Saturday, July 15, 2023, at 2 p.m. Ann is survived by her husband Barney McGowan, her children Jennifer, Patrick, Jolene, Jill and Jean McGowan. Their spouses Kirsten McGowan, Tom McAdam, David Hembre, and Gerry Glynn. Grandchildren, Patrick, Hannah (Blymier) , Heidi Andrews, Brady, Katie, Chelsea, Amelia McGowan, Flannery McAdam, Theo Hembre, Fiona and Weston French, their collective spouses and partners, and great grandchildren Jett and Jack Blymier, and Clare and Liam McGowan.We would like to thank the large loving village of friends and family who helped and cared for our parents towards the end of Ann’s life. Especially Dale Andrews, Ronda Adams, Kathy Kelly, Karen Lylis, Karen Hodgkins, Deb Higgins, and Mike and Bette McGowan. Thank you to Northern Light Home Care and Hospice. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to establish a visiting writers series in her memory. Checks should be made out to:The Friends of the Pittsfield Library110 Library StreetPittsfield, ME 04967

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