By Almeda Girod
Bill Rowland has lived at Riderwood Village longer than any other resident. He continues to be active and committed to contributing to the community.
The lower two floors of Park View were opened May 1, 2000. Bill and his wife picked up their keys on May 5. Every two weeks another upper floor was made available until all seven levels were completed. Potomac Café with its fireplace was the center of activities and only steps away from their apartment.
Prior to the opening of Riderwood, prospective residents were bussed to Oak Crest Village and Greenspring Village to view what Riderwood would become. Bill says there was a “feeling of adventure and we trusted what John Erickson would produce.”
Bill was born in the President’s House at Eureka College in Illinois, where his grandfather was the college president. Both of his parents were college graduates and the extended family appreciated the value of education. Bill and his two younger sisters grew up in Indiana, Pennsylvania where his father taught business education in the local college. His sister Mona Rowland also resides at Riderwood.
Bill was stationed with the Army in 1947 in Japan. He describes the atmosphere as “calm.” Later he took advantage of the GI Bill to attend the University of Maryland, where he earned an electrical engineering degree. He married Leta Rose Marlowe a day after graduation. They had three children and enjoyed 62 years together until her death in 2013.
Bill had a 35-year career with Vitro Corp. in Silver Spring. He was awarded a “Transistor Protection Circuit” patent for one of his ideas. He comments, “it was interesting work and they treated me well enough for me to stay.”
Bill has operated the audio/visual equipment for movies and church services, commenting on the changes in technology over the 19 years. He has been a RAC member, computer tutor, a singer with the Balladeers, and a dues-paying participant in the Genealogy Club, Woodworkers, and Computer Club. He was a chief election judge for Montgomery County in 2006 when Riderwood became a polling place. Bill organized Seminar 101 that featured residents sharing their expertise, and he even remembers the walking club that counted among its members Frank Erk, Walter Wells, and Harry Weil.
Even after 19 years of living at Riderwood, Bill asserts, “I cannot think of any place where I would rather be.”,