Edward Leon Rowny, a retired U.S Army Lieutenant General, died on December 17, 2017. He was 100 years old. A commanding officer in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Gen. Rowny served as military advisor to five U.S. presidents and was one of the negotiators of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Born in Baltimore, MD on 3 April 1917, Rowny graduated from the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1933 and travelled to Poland on a Kosciuszko Scholarship to study Polish history in Kraków. Rowny also held engineering degrees from Johns Hopkins University, West Point, and Yale as well as Masters’ Degree in International Affairs from Yale and a PhD in International Studies from American University.
Gen. Rowny’s stellar military career included serving as a spokesman for Gen. Douglas MacArthur in Korea, deputy chief to Gen. Andrew P. O’Meara in charge of relocation of NATO troops from France and, since 1971, as US representative to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks under presidents Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Later, Gen. Rowny was appointed Ambassador, Chief Negotiator and Special Advisor on Arms Control by President Ronald Reagan and continued serving in this capacity for the first two years of President George H.W. Bush’s term.
Retiring after fifty years of Government service, Gen. Rowny turned his attention to Ignacy Jan Paderewski—a pianist he heard perform and was introduced to as a child by his grandmother, Adamina Radziszewski. Some sixty years later, in 1992, together with Presidents George H.W. Bush of the US and Lech Wałęsa of Poland, Gen. Rowny accompanied Paderewski’s remains as they were repatriated to Poland from Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. In 2004 Gen. Rowny established the Paderewski Scholarship Fund to help Polish university students study American democracy at Georgetown University. Remaining active in his advocacy for Poland, Gen. Rowny served as Vice President and President of the American Polish Advisory Council and was recognized with numerous medals and awards for his military, diplomatic and humanitarian achievements, including the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom, Walter Judd Freedom Award, and South Korea’s Order of Military Merit, among others. His books, It Takes One to Tango (1992) and Smokey Joe and the General (2013) contain many revealing and delightful anecdotes from his long career as military advisor and diplomat.
In spite of poor eyesight in his later years, Gen. Rowny made every effort to attend as many political, cultural and social events all around Washington, DC, as possible. His towering figure and sunny disposition, his great knowledge of American foreign policy and Polish history, and his noble and well-informed patriotism made him a shining example of an individual whose life mission was to serve his country and honor his heritage. In these efforts he succeeded as only a few other mortals do.
The funeral mass for Gen. Rowny will be said at 11 a.m. on Saturday January 27, 2018, at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament on 3630 Quesada Street NW in Washington D.C.