Owner of excavating company drowns


The owner of a Union Bridge excavating company drowned early Sunday in Big Pipe Creek when he went swimming with five other people after leaving a Keymar tavern, Maryland State Police said.

William Martin Rowe, 55, of the 4500 block of Middleburg Road in Mount Union, died at the scene about 3:15 a.m. Police said the drowning was an accident.

Mr. Rowe's body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore, police said. An autopsy report was not available yesterday.

Mr. Rowe drowned in the creek, which is a Monocacy River tributary, near Crouse Mill Road outside Keymar, police said. The water at that point is about 4 feet deep, said a Taneytown firefighter who was dispatched to the scene.

Police said Mr. Rowe and the others had been drinking at the Crossroads Inn at 6694 Middleburg Road. About 2 a.m., he left with two men -- Charles Richard Stambaugh of the 100 block of Glenn Hill Court in Union Bridge and Denny Earl Green of New Windsor -- and three women to go swimming in the creek. Police did not release the women's names.

Mr. Rowe was in the water for a half-hour to an hour when his companions realized they had not heard from him, the report said. One of the women called 911 for help and the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Department responded.

Firefighters found Mr. Rowe dead, lying face down in the water, XTC the police report said.

Funeral services for Mr. Rowe will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the D. D. Hartzler & Sons Funeral Home at 6 E. Broadway in Union Bridge.

Mr. Rowe had owned the excavating company for 25 years. He was an associate member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8806 in Union Bridge and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 2226 in Littlestown, Pa.

He is survived by his wife of 31 years, the former Joanne Coleman; a daughter, Crystal E. C. Rowe; six nieces and four nephews.

The family suggested memorial contributions may be sent to the Uniontown United Methodist Church, in care of Phyllis A. Perleth, 3348 Uniontown Road, Uniontown 21158.

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