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Lynne & R. Leon McGowan ~ KAM Whippets

Back in 1999, I made my first journey to Delaware to participate in the Jersey Rag Racer Whippet Association (JRRWA) Versatility Event. It was there I met the vibrant, redheaded trophy chairman for the event, Lynne McGowan. Bless her, she always knew how to make out-of-towners feel at home. Lynne was a non-stop dynamo, whether working or just chatting people up. She never ran out of energy. Meanwhile, out on the track, her husband, Leon, would drive his big, green John Deere tractor endlessly in circles to restring the oval track. He was a lure operator par excellence and took great pride in doing the job right.

Well known for her devilish sense of fun, Lynne frequently introduced her sister to new racers as "Leon's sister-in-law". And Leon, ever supportive, went along with the joke. I think it was many years before people who'd been so introduced managed to sort out who was related to whom...assuming they ever did sort it out.

The McGowan family was introduced to whippets by Chris Blake (Sundance) when their son, Keith, expressed a desire to try a breed other than Labrador Retrievers, the breed that Leon and his sons had used for waterfowl hunting on the family farm for many years. It was Chris who christened the family "KAM Whippets", using Keith's initials to form the kennel name, back when they got their first whippet.

Blessed with talented dogs during their tenure in whippets, the McGowan family participated in WRA and NOTRA racing and in AKC/ASFA lure coursing events. Whisper, Ara, Mako, Chauncey, Bengal, Amur, Dingo and Osprey brought them many years of great competition, prestigious titles, and pleasure as cherished companions.

During their 25+ years of participation, Lynne and Leon contributed heavily toward the establishment of a stable racing community in the mid-Atlantic states and were instrumental in fostering the growth of NOTRA on the East Coast. They were very active members of the Jersey Rag Racers Whippet Association.

Their presence, knowledge, and friendship will long be missed by those who were lucky enough to call them friends.

The McGowans are survived by their sons and sons' wives, Robert & Lisa and Keith & Jana, and their extended families. Lynne and Leon were blessed by great joy in the anticipation and arrival of a granddaughter, Kate, in 2006.


Mrs. B. Lynne McGowan, age 63, of Middletown, DE, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 5, 2006, at her son's home.

Mrs. McGowan, a homemaker, was born April 15, 1943 in Wilmington, daughter of the late Francis W. Selby and Mildred Moorehead Selby. She was interested in animals throughout her life, and owned numerous national racing champion whippets over the years. She greatly enjoyed spending time on the family farm.

Her husband, Robert Leon McGowan, died in November 2005. She is survived by 2 sons, Robert L. McGowan, II, and his fiancée, Lisa C. Short, of Middletown, and Keith A. McGowan, and his wife, Janna, of Dover; and a granddaughter, Kate McGowan.

The funeral service and interment will be held privately and at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to American Cancer Society , 92 Reads Way, Ste. 205, New Castle, DE 19720.

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Published in The News Journal on July 6, 2006 .

Obituary: Robert Leon McGowan

Robert Leon McGowan, age 68 of Middletown, DE, died on Sunday, November 6, 2005, at Christiana Hospital in Newark.

Born May 17, 1937 in Tabor City, NC, Mr. McGowan had been a supervisor for the former Star Enterprise Delaware City Refinery, retiring in 1996 after 34 years of service. He enjoyed waterfowl hunting, decoy carving and raising and training whippets.

Mr. McGowan was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Della (Williamson) McGowan; and his brother, Charles McGowan. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, B. Lynne (Selby) McGowan; sons, Robert L. McGowan, II and his fiancée, Lisa C. Short, of Middletown, DE and Keith A. McGowan and his wife, Janna, of Dover, DE; brother, Barney McGowan and his wife, Brenda, of Bear; sisters Margaret Buckson and Shirley Kite and her husband, Quinn, all of St. Georges.

A funeral service will be held at 2 pm on Wednesday, November 9, 2005, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 214 Clinton Street, Delaware City, where friends may call after 1 pm until the time of service. Interment will follow in the Hickory Grove Cemetery, Port Penn Road, Port Penn.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions to the American Lung Association of Delaware, 1021 Gilpin Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19806.

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Published in The News Journal on November 8, 2005 .

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