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Benny Gowan

August 2, 1948 ~ November 20, 2021 (age 73)


Memorial services for Benny Roy Gowan, 73, of Nacogdoches, will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at Laird Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Friday, December 3, 2021, at Laird Funeral Home. 

Benny Roy Gowan was born August 2, 1948, in Ingram, a small town in the Texas Hill Country.  He spent his formative years with his grandparents, who taught him to enjoy nature.  Beginning at the age of 13, he spent summers working at ranches.  He graduated from Tivy High School in Kerrville.  He soon joined the US Navy and served on the USS Coral Sea aircraft carrier.  He served two and a half tours of duty in the Vietnam War.

While stationed in San Francisco, Benny found the love of his life, Simonetta Webb.  They met on the 4th of July weekend in 1969, fell in love immediately, and were engaged by September.  In June the following year, after his tour of duty in Vietnam, they married and lived in San Francisco until his honorable discharge.  The couple moved to Nacogdoches where Benny earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forest management at Stephen F. Austin State University while Sim finished her degree there.  

Benny worked for Champion International for 23 years, living in several towns of East Texas and then for Morris Timber Holdings for 20 years.  He was a 44-year member of the Texas Forestry Association.  To Benny, each person with whom he worked was an important and valued part of the whole team.  He enjoyed his job and working with friends and clients so much that he waited until age 70 to retire.

Benny and Sim’s marriage was truly blessed by a wonderful, fun-filled life together.  They were best friends – truly soulmates.  His favorite morning activity was sitting in the back porch swing having coffee with Simonetta.  They enjoyed their serene, wooded setting and each other’s company.  They shared their love for the outdoors and nature, had common viewpoints, encouraged each other, enjoyed hunting together, and were helpmates in so many ways.  Benny and Sim loved traveling to new places, renting a car and then adventuring out.  They made many impromptu stops along the way, savoring God’s beauty.  Even with Covid hindrances, they recently went on vacations to the Smokies, Sedona, Hawaii, and national parks of Utah.

Benny loved to hunt dove, deer, and most of all, turkey.  He looked forward to each season with great anticipation.  Since 1998, he coordinated annual South Zone dove hunts with friends at Bob Hunter’s ranch near Uvalde.  He also shared many deer and turkey hunts with best buddies Bill Krick and Dan Avery at a ranch near Valera.  Their campfire visits were treasured pastimes where favorite hunting stories were told.  Benny particularly relished hunting with son Roy, of whom he was very proud.  They shared a special bond of mutual respect and admiration and enjoyed many a conversation and hunt together.

Benny had a strong faith in God and in God’s faithfulness to him.  He accepted Jesus as his Savior at the age of 12 at the First Baptist Church of Ingram.  He loved listening to hymns.  An especially fond childhood memory was church singing and then going down to the Guadalupe River for baptisms.  His favorite Bible stories are in the Old Testament when God told Moses He is the Great I AM, and in the New Testament when Jesus told the Jewish people He is the I AM, just as God is the I AM.  Benny thought the words “Awesome” and “Perfect” should be reserved for reverent reference to God and Jesus – for nothing is perfect except Jesus. 

Benny trusted in God’s protection and direction.  Before his surgery, Benny told Simonetta with confidence “either way things go in my surgery, I will be okay.”

Benny will be remembered as a humble, unassuming gentleman with a great sense of humor, quick wit, and big smile.  His integrity, dedication, discernment, patience, and kindness were evident in everything he did.  He was a forester, friend, and family leader.  But of all the roles Benny filled, being Papa to his cherished granddaughters Rachel (Sugar) and Reese (Muffin) was the best.  They gave him boundless joy; he gave them enduring love.

Benny is survived by his adoring wife of 51 years, Simonetta Gowan; his son and sweet daughter-in-law, Roy and Rebecca Gowan, and precious granddaughters, Rachel and Reese of Fort Worth; his son, Joshua Gowan of Tomball; his brother, Ron Gowan of Ingram; and a host of others whom he loved dearly.  He is also survived by special friends, Bill Krick and Family, and Dan Avery, as well as wonderful and longtime hunting buddies and forestry friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Warren and Viola Gowan, and sister Warrenetta Villegas.

The family extends special thanks to the skilled surgeons, doctors, critical care nurse practitioners, critical care nurses, and all the staff from CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospitals in Tyler.  These dedicated professionals became close friends of Benny and Simonetta as they cared for them for 65 days. 

A heartfelt thanks, also, to the Nacogdoches First Baptist Church family in their care of Simonetta and to all the prayer warriors who prayed for Benny and Simonetta.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Love, INC, Love in the Name of Christ, PO Box 630423, Nacogdoches, TX 75963 or Samaritan’s Purse, P O Box 3000, Boone, SC 28607.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Benny, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Visitation
December 3, 2021

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Laird Funeral Home
2116 South Street
Nacogdoches, TX 75964
Guaranteed delivery before the Memorial Visitation begins

Memorial Service
December 4, 2021

10:00 AM
Laird Funeral Home
2116 South Street
Nacogdoches, TX 75964
Guaranteed delivery before the Memorial Service begins

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