Dr. Matthew Rowan

Doctor Matthew Penick Rowan, a resident of San Antonio originally from College Station, Texas, was born June 15, 1982. Matt passed away at the age of 34 in the loving arms of Sunday Stewart Rowan, his beautiful bride of five months and a day, in a tragic hot air balloon accident on July 30, 2016 above pastureland in Maxwell, Texas.

Matt graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2004, The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a Master of Forensic Sciences, Toxicology in 2006, and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Pharmacology in 2011. Doctor Rowan was the Chief of Clinical Trials in Burns and Trauma at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research, and a beloved Adjunct Professor at Trinity University where he was scheduled to teach chemistry this fall. Matt had previously been an Adjunct Chemistry Professor at St. Mary’s University and Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.

Dr. Rowan was a dynamic researcher for the U.S. Army. After years of educational work and training, Matt could’ve easily gotten a job making more money, but inspired by his older brother’s time in the Iraq War was more interested in a life of service helping soldiers, veterans and other victims suffering from burns and trauma than he was his paycheck.  Simultaneously, he was a passionate and beloved professor and mentor to many college students, the kind of hands-on, laid-back teacher with the ability and patience to break down the most complex information, the kind of guy everyone prays for when they register for classes as challenging as Organic Chemistry.

Matt truly was one of the good guys, brilliant but humble, welcoming and a friend to all. He loved playing volleyball, his dog Lellow, a good laugh regularly, a great cigar occasionally, and going hunting, though that was finally something we found he wasn’t so great at. He was a Christian who loved God and his family, an Aggie who bled maroon, and the kind of man who really did live the idea of leaving the world a better place. Well done, Matt. Godspeed, and gig ‘em!

Matt was survived by and adored his stepson, five year old Jett Jones, his mother, Sue Rowan, father and step-mother Terry and Brenda Rowan, brother and sister-in-law, Joshua and Paige Rowan, nephews Palmer and Brant Rowan, and numerous relatives and friends who are devastated and miss him desperately. Our families thank you all for your prayers, hugs and words of comfort during this unfathomably surreal time. We were so blessed to have Matt and Sunday in our lives, and we are blessed to have friends like you.

“All of us want to do well, but if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.” (Anna Quindlen)

Matt and Sunday’s memorial service will be held Saturday, August 6th, at 2:00pm at Christ United Methodist Church located at 4201 State Highway 6, South in College Station.

A scholarship fund for students of Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry has been set up in honor of Matt to continue his spirit of commitment to helping others. Donations may be made to Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemistry (Matt Rowan Memorial Scholarship Fund), Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840 or online at https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1436/gid3give/2014/index.aspx?sid=1436&gid=3&pgid=322 or by clicking the GIVE NOW link on the Texas A&M Foundation homepage.

For more information contact [wpseo_address show_state=”1″ show_country=”1″ show_phone=”1″ show_phone_2=”1″ show_fax=”1″ show_email=”1″ show_logo=”0″]


  1. Rowan Family,

    I am so sorry for the untimely death of your dear son and brother. I enjoyed having Matt join my fourth grade math class at RPE and appreciated his ability and enthusiasm. Your whole family was an asset to the school and a pleasure to know. This is tough. It doesn’t get any tougher. Know that many, many people are holding you up and remembering Matt.

  2. Terry, Sue, and Josh, so deeply saddened to hear of the loss of your sweet Matt. I have such wonderful memories of our times together in College Station when our boys were little. May God comfort you and give you His peace as you walk through these difficult days. May you sense the prayers of others and be strengthened. Claudia Gandy, Lexington, SC

  3. Sue,
    I am so, so sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathy and condolences…from one Angel mother to another. I pray that you find peace my friend.

  4. I am truly sorry for the pain you are going through right now. We read at Ecclesiastes 9:11 that unexpected events effect us all. As we patiently wait for God to restore to life our loved ones in paradise on earth, may the love of family and friends bring you comfort at this time. (Acts 24:15, Psalms 37:29) May the God of comfort be with you during this difficult time.

  5. Sissy,
    I am so sorry to hear this. I just found out through Aunt Bonnie. My thoughts and prayers are for you all during this very hard time.
    Love you,

  6. Beautiful obituary. Matt was one of a kind, and I’m blessed to have watched him grow from a crazy kid to a witty and brilliant man. Continuing to pray for you all and will see you on Saturday.

  7. Sue and the Rowan F
    I offer my deepest sympathy and condolences on the very tragic and untimely loss of your wonderful son and brother. You are in my heart and prayers.

  8. I did not know Matt or Sunday I’ve been following this story and it has broken my heart….. I know the sadness that I feel for you and your family cannot be compared to what you feel, just know God will help you through it… Their memory will live on, their story has touched so many ….

  9. So thankful for all Matt has done in his so short life. This week has brought such great sadness and memories of Matt in my seventh grade history class. Such a sweet boy then who grew to do great things. Sue, Josh and your entire family have been in my prayers and will continue to be prayed for as you heal. God bless Matt and Sunday.

  10. I want to offer my condolences to family and friends. I met Matt on the volleyball court. I always knew him to be competitive, funny, and a good person. He will always be remembered by me as talking me up, offering encouragement and someone that could make me laugh. I hope you find some comfort in knowing he’ll always be remembered by those he met. His influence will be kept alive in the volleyball community and I’ll cherish the time we spent together.

  11. I will never forget the precious and precocious 8-year old Matt in my classroom at Rock Prairie. The world was a brighter, more beautiful place because of his life. I was so blessed to share a small part of it. My heart breaks with you all.

  12. Rowan Family, even though I did not know Matt, I did know Sunday and if she chose to love him, then he was someone special. My heart is heavy for you and prayers are going up for you all

  13. The Rowan gene is strong. Though I never met Matt, he was brilliant, charming, driven, successful, and a life-giving force. Like his dad and his brother. How brightly his star shone here, and I am certain it shines even brighter in the Presence of the Lord. May he and Sunday dwell forever in paradise and greet you when you arrive.

    “Into thy hands, O merciful Savior, we commend thy servants Matt and Sunday. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, sheep of thine own fold, lambs of thine own flock, sinners of thine own redeeming. Receive them into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.”

  14. My prayers are definitely with you all during this time of bereavement. Being a friend of of Matt’s aunt Robin, I know that your heart is hurtinng. As a parent, my heart hurts, but knowing that God has never left us, look to the hills which comes are strength, which comes from the Lord our God! You are in my prayers. God bless this family!

  15. Sue, Terry and Josh,
    We are very sorry to hear about Matt. I will always remember him as a little boy playing with Michael and Josh. My heart breaks for you. My prayers are with your family at this time.

  16. I only met Matt one time through my daughter Laura. She worked with “lab” Matt, as she so affectionately called him. He seemed like a very down to earth, kind and genuine person. I am in disbelief of such a loss. The world has lost a kind soul. May God be with you and your family at this time of loss and devastation.

  17. Sue, this is Dianne Bell Sides. I just made the connection that this is your precious son. I am so sorry for this terrible tragedy. Thinking of you, dear.

  18. There are no words adequate to comfort or ease the pain . May God be with you and family . So so sorry that you lost your son and daughter in law .
    God Bless.

  19. Terry our thoughts @ prayers Are with you and family we know it is a bitter pill to swallow. May the Lord bless you in this time

  20. I did not know either person either but I also have followed the storey.. What great people these two were and they are still touching people! May God Bless you and comfort you.

  21. Wanda and I want to express to the Rowan family our deepest sympathy. What a wonderful and meaningful legacy Matt and Sunday had in giving to others. We pray for God’s peace and special comfort during this time and in the days ahead.

    Wanda and Bryan Cole

  22. Ooh my precious Sue
    I cannot express how sad I feel for you & your family on the loss of your son & daughter in law. Please know that I am sending hugs of compassion just as you did for me 7 years ago when I lost my own son. I know God feels far away at a time like this, but rest assured, He will carry you through this. You are in my thoughts & prayers…..
    Love Jim Lawyer

  23. Matt certainly did affect many lives for the better, and I am terribly saddened about this tragedy. Matt was my mentor during a summer research program I participated in at UTHSCSA. He was an incredible teacher, passionate and patient, but always challenging me to go above and beyond. It was obvious that there was a special spark about him, balancing the rare combination of being a fun person/good communicator with people skills alongside being quite brilliant. I hope his family knows what an impact he made on me, and certainly many others.



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