Joe McGowan Fund

In November of 2014, Kevin and Anne McGowan,and their older son Patrick received unthinkable news. Their 21 year old son and brother Joe, was involved in a tragic incident while attempting to break up a fight. The event devastated the McGowan family. As Kevin, Anne and Patrick grieved, they recognized a need to do something positive to honor their youngest son and brother. They set up a donor advised fund with the Wyoming Community Foundation.

As WYCF staff spoke with Kevin and Anne, the couple’s love for Joe and the hurt they felt was undeniable. “Beyond that though,” says Micah Richardson, WYCF staff member, “was that Joe’s parents and Patrick continued to be unbelievably supportive of him and all he loved to do. They were determined to support Joe and his passions, even after he passed.”

For the McGowan’s, setting up a fund “was a way for something good to comes out of tragedy,” The Wyoming Community Foundation worked with the McGowans to ensure grants from Joe’s fund would benefit all of his passions: art, outdoor pursuits, sports and most of all, living life to the fullest!

Kevin believes establishing the fund helped the family “work through the grief.” They were able to take action in what felt like a helpless situation. And when others asked what they could do to help, the couple was now able to provide an actionable answer that created positive impact.

The McGowans will tell you that Joe, “had a remarkable group of friends” and the outpouring of community support has been tremendous. A skate park has been renamed in honor of Joe, with hundreds of people showing up to the dedication ceremony. Kevin hosted a golf tournament where shouts of “Joe McGowan” could be heard as birdies and eagles were made. And Joe’s friends still stop in to catch up with the McGowans.

Anne and Kevin are excited to see the impact Joe’s fund will make. They have a goal of raising $25,000 all to benefit the things their son loved most. Kevin is always thinking of ideas to raise money for the fund and is currently having t-shirts and insulated travel mugs made – adorned with Joe’s art of course.

The events of that tragic night can never be undone but Anne, Kevin and Joe’s older brother Patrick are courageously moving forward. “People need to know how he passed,” says Kevin, “but more importantly is how he lived.” – With gusto and a love of life that will continue to be honored.