Barbara Lynn Rowell

Apr 26, 1936 - Nov 18, 2021

Barbara Lynn Rowell

April 26, 1936 - November 18, 2021


Barbara Lynn Rowell, age 85, of Quincy, died Thursday, November 18, 2021, at 8:50 am in Good Samaritan Home.

Barbara was born April 26, 1936 in Quincy, Illinois, the daughter of Aldo and Marian (Thesen) Grimmer. She married Terry G. Rowell on May 8, 1965 in Quincy. He preceded her in death on September 15, 2010.

Barbara grew up in Ursa, Illinois on the family farm and very proud to be a farm girl from "Ursie", She was a graduate of Mendon High School and after high school attended Culver Stockton College, where she majored in Speech and Drama and minored in English and Education. She graduated Cum Laude in 1958 with a Bachelor's in Arts. While at Culver Stockton, Barbara was a member of the Chi Omega sorority, where she was also pledge trainer and president. Barbara was also a cheerleader, a member of the choir, a member of the Panhellenic Council, and the host of the Culver Stockton Callboard television show. One of her most famous interviews while at Culver was interviewing then President of the Screen Actors Guild, and future President of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Barbara was featured in the "Who's Who of American Universities and Colleges", and she received the Wood Citizenship Award for Women. Through recommendations of Dr. Al Kaufman, professor of Drama, Barbara attended the Plymouth Drama Festival at the Priscilla Beach Theater in Plymouth, MA, where she received training during the summer of 1957. Barbara was selected to the theater company of the Ramsdell Opera House Summer Theater in Manistee, MI in 1958. Barbara was inducted into the Culver Stockton College of Fines Arts Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 1958 through 1960, Barbara was a member of the Professional Acting Company at the Erie Playhouse in Erie, PA, where she served in the roles of actress, costumer, and student theater instructor and also at that time met husband Terry. Barbara returned to Quincy in 1964, where she taught Speech and Drama at Quincy High School and at Central High School in Camp Point.

From 1965 to 1975 she assisted her husband, Terry, who produced and directed outdoor historical spectaculars for cities across the country for the John B. Rogers Producing Company located in Fostoria, OH. In 1978 Barbara became the first director of entertainment and emcee for the Golden Eagle Riverboat Dinner Theater in Canton, MO. She held that position until 1983. During this time, Barbara also served as an instructor for Speech and Theater at Culver Stockton College. She also acted as Forensics coach, Pi Kappa Delta sponsor, and cheerleader sponsor. Barbara also directed the first musical production for Culver Stockton College, "Annie Get Your Gun".

Barbara had been involved in "Quincy Live Theater" since 1967 at the Quincy Community Little Theatre at 13th and Payson in many roles such as actress, director, and board member. In 1969, Barbara directed her first two musical productions, "The Boyfriend" and "Damn Yankees". Barbara became the Managing and Artistic Director in 1983 and when she retired in 2006 her tenure accounted for by estimation over 136 productions. The most visible of Barb's legacy is the building that the current Quincy Community Theater occupies. Barbara's singular vision and determination allowed the theater to become a permanent resident of the Oakley Lindsay Civic Center in 1995. Barbara's entire life was driven by a deep and abiding love for the theater, for her community, and for Quincy. Her efforts to advance QCT were not for personal gain, but to share love with as many people as she possibly could.

Barbara was a true friend, role model, a mentor and second mom to so many here in Quincy and around the country.

Barbara was a 25-year member of the American Association of Community Theaters, of which she was a board member for six years. She won the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in 1994 and received the City of Quincy Arts Award. She was also a member of the Associate of University Women. Barb loved to play bridge with "The Girls".

Survivors include: her son, Brian Rowell of Peoria, IL; her daughter, Stephanie (Don) Rutledge of El Cajon, CA; three grandchildren: Olivia Rowell of St Louis and Nicolas and Brady Rutledge of El Cajon, CA; her brother, David (Charlotte) Grimmer of Glendale, MO; her nephew, David (Jennifer) Grimmer, Jr. and their children Max, Fred and Lucy of St. Louis, MO; and her niece, Julie (Josh) Smith and their children Nate and Megan of St. Louis, MO.

In addition to her husband, Barbara was preceded in death by her parents Aldo and Marian Grimmer and Great Aunt and Uncle, Betty and Warren Gorton of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Services: 1:00 pm Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home, with Rev. Judith Taylor officiating.

To attend Barb's service remotely (or to view a recording for up to 90 days), please join us on Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time using the following link

A celebration of her life will be held at Quincy Community Theater at a later date.

Burial: Greenmount Cemetery, Quincy, Illinois

Visitation: 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Tuesday November 23, 2021 at Hansen-Spear Funeral Home

Memorial donations may be made to Quincy Community Theater. Memorial Donations may be made online at

Hansen-Spear Funeral Directors are in charge of the arrangements.

To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Barbara Lynn Rowell, please visit our Tribute Store


Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Hansen-Spear Funeral Home

1535 State Street
Quincy, IL 62301

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Wed, Nov 24, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Hansen-Spear Funeral Home

1535 State Street
Quincy, IL 62301

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