Verne "Pug" Allen Rowe III, age 60, died unexpectedly on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at MaineGeneral Medical Center's Critical Care Unit due to a very brief but severe bout of influenza pneumonia. His death was attended by his sister, Cheryl, and her husband, the Rev. Thomas DeRaps. As soon as they could arrive, Pug's siblings, Glenn, Patti and her husband, Richard, came to offer their loving support. We praise God that the Rev. DeRaps was able to pray over Pug just before he quietly slipped away, absent from the body, and now present with the Lord.
Pug was born in Augusta, Maine, on July 25, 1952, the eldest son of Verne Allen Rowe Jr. and Lorraine Ann (Parkhurst) Rowe. Pug grew up in the Farmingdale/Hallowell area and attended schools there. He got his General Educational Development diploma and then went on to get an associate degree in business from the Augusta School of Business. He later resided as an adult in the Augusta/Gardiner area and was most recently residing at Capitol City Manor in Augusta, and he enjoyed being there as much as they enjoyed having him there.
Pug was always an avid reader and music lover, and had quite a collection of books, CDs, tapes, 45s and albums. Pug confessed his faith in 2008 to the DeRapses. He read the Bible daily, wrote a lot -- some poetry and many intricately detailed records of his studies in religion, Christianity in particular. He enjoyed his weekly scratch tickets and often shared his winnings with friends and family. He was a stay-at-home dad and spent his adult life in an unassuming manner, devoting most of it to caring for his daughters, now-29-year-old Natalie Rowe and 25-year-old Jessica Rowe, alongside their mother and his best friend, Barbara Batchelder. He loved Jessica's daughter, 2-year-old Faith (who now resides with her adoptive parents), and Faith's father and Jessica's fiancé, Christopher Bell. Pug was always quick-witted with a good sense of humor. His close friends called him "Dad" because of his caring and generous nature, and "Dad" will be greatly missed by them.
"Jesus said to him 'I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me'" (John 14:6). Pug understood that. Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God. He believed what the Bible plainly states, that Christ alone is the way of salvation, not through works but through faith (Ephesians 2:8-10); that is, the life lived believing in Christ's atoning death (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:11 through 10:39) and obeying Christ (John 15:14), which does result in good works as evidence of that faith. As Romans 10:9-10 makes clear: "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
"(W)e are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:8-10). When a believer in Christ, such as Pug, leaves this world, he goes immediately to be in the presence of Christ. There is no "soul sleep" or intermediate waiting place, nor does the Bible teach that there is any place called purgatory. 2 Corinthians 5:8 points out that when absent from the body, which "sleeps" until the resurrection, a believer's spirit is present (at home) with the Lord, our triune God. Moreover, in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 ("For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with him"), the apostle Paul reinforced his comments regarding people who are in Christ: that Christ died for his people, and whether we are physically awake (alive) or physically asleep (dead), genuine (bona fide) believers are with Christ. Although only God Almighty truly knows our heart, evidence indicates that Pug, who confessed Christ as Lord, is at home with his Savior, who is coming "just like a thief in the night" on the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2; Matthew 24:42; 2 Peter 3:3-18; Revelation 3:3). Flee from God's coming wrath (against those who persist in their sin -- Romans 1:18-32)! Finally, in the words of "the Preacher" (Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived -- other than Jesus Christ, of course, who is "God with us"):
"The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 -- all Bible quotes are from the 1995 "Updated New American Standard Bible."
A poem to our dearest Pug:
As we honor your memory, it's still hard to believe
that you have gone and we must grieve.
Though the music of the angels awake you from your "sleep,"
our hearts still yearn, our eyes still weep.
Regret is what some of us are feeling this day;
Pug, we're so sorry if "I love you!" we didn't get to say.
So, we must believe in that "Better Place,"
and that you ARE resting in God's loving embrace.
Because in the midst of our grieving we will rejoice,
for in a whisper from above shall come your voice,
"Please don't be sad, I know we had to part,
and as long as you remember me, I will live in your heart."
We love you and will miss you, Pug!
Pug was predeceased by his father in 2002 and by both his maternal and paternal grandparents. He is survived by his mother, of Farmingdale; the two daughters and their mother, of Augusta; the one granddaughter; his siblings, Patti (and Richard) Bouchard and Cheryl (and Thomas) DeRaps, all of Hallowell, Mark Rowe, Wayne Rowe and Cindy Webb, all of Farmingdale, and Glenn (and Tracy) Rowe, of Palermo; several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews; aunts and uncles; and a great-aunt and -uncle, of Unity.
Pug's family and friends would like to thank the staff at Capitol City Manor, Motivational Services, the Critical Care Unit at MaineGeneral and Direct Cremation of Maine for their wonderful care of our beloved. May God bless you all!
Per Pug's request, he will be cremated, and there will be no services. For anyone so generously inclined, donations may be made to Capitol City Manor (in Pug's memory), 313 State St. Augusta ME 04330; or to Thomas and Cheryl DeRaps at 399 Central St., Hallowell ME 04347, to help with costs of cremation, etc. (Any overflow will be donated in Pug's memory to Capitol City Manor. We thank you, in advance, and may God bless you all as well!)