John Rowe, Last Principal at Arlington High School Through ‘Class to the Last’ Dies at Age 92

Retired Arlington High School Principal John Rowe in 2017
Retired Arlington High School Principal John Rowe in 2017.

John Rowe, the last high school principal to serve the students and parents at Arlington High School, died Thursday March 14, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. He was a leader of positive thoughts when Township High School District 214’s need to close a high school split the community from 1981 to 1984. Arlington High School was the first District 214 high school to open in 1922, and it was the first high school to close in 1984.

John Rowe began working for Township High School District 214 in 1956 as a high school math teacher. Initially, he only worked at Arlington High School for one year, and then was assigned to Prospect High School when it opened. He returned to Arlington, starting the ’61-’62 school year and was soon promoted to Assistant Principal when Assistant Principal Bruno Waara was promoted to Principal. When Waara retired in 1980, John Rowe was promoted to Principal, continuing through to the ‘Class to the Last’ closing of Arlington High School in 1984.

Rowe was a highly respected and unassuming man, who was a natural leader and motivator for excellence from students. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but services will be held in Arkansas, where John Rowe lived in retirement — and where he said, “I think of Arlington High School almost every day.”

John Rowe in 1971 and at Homecoming 2002
John Rowe in 1971 and at Homecoming 2002.
Retired Arlington High School Principal John Rowe in 2017
Retired Arlington High School Principal John Rowe in 2017.

John Rowe – Final Arlington Speech

A heartfelt goodbye to Mr. Walter John Rowe, a longtime District 214 educator and Arlington High School’s final principal. He passed away tonight.Principal Rowe started in District 214 as a math teacher at Arlington in 1956 and the following year, when Prospect High School opened, he was asked to teach math at Prospect.He stayed at Prospect until 1962, when he secured the position of Assistant Principal at Arlington High School. He took over as principal in 1980.When the school closed in 1984, Principal Rowe delivered an impassioned speech to his beloved Arlington Cardinals, using the phrase "Class to the Last" — words that also hung on a large banner and were captured in many photographs. Rest in peace Principal Rowe, and thank you for your tireless dedication.Listen to some of his final comments to Arlington grads.

Posted by High School District 214 on Thursday, March 14, 2019

Video from “Lady in Red” produced by Brian F. Sullivan, Class of 1984 with words from Principal John Rowe about Arlington High School closing in 1984.






^^ MOBILE? USE VOICE MIC ^^

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