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Updated Nov 6, 2013 - 7:58 am

Luke AFB financial analyst chief retires after 70 years

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The U.S. Air Force has wished its longest-serving civil servant a hearty good luck.

With friends and family by her side, 88-year-old Dorothy M. Rowe officially retired from the Air Force Tuesday, ending her 70-year-career. A luncheon was held in her honor where she received letters of congratulations from both President Barack Obama and Arizona Senator John McCain.

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning called Rowe a trailblazer.

"When she first joined the government in 1943, women just weren't eligible for the same opportunities as men," Fanning said. "By those standards, it would be unheard of for a woman to be the Chief of Financial Analysis, responsible for millions of dollars of base funds."

But that's exactly what she did.

Rowe worked at Luke Air Force base for 60 years after moving to Arizona in 1953.

Rowe said the job has kept her busy.

"I sweat those numbers every year," she remarked.

Fanning said that Rowe has seen a lot of people come and go.

"She has served under 13 presidents," said Fanning. "She's seen Luke transition between four different major commands, and she has worked for over 40 different wing commanders."

During all of that time, Rowe also accomplished something away from the base. She is a champion bowler, and her name is in the National Bowling Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Mo.

Rowe said she still has to decide what she'll do next, but whatever it is, she said it will be "a wild adventure."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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