Mark McGowan


Mark was a great (good??) athlete. Just ask him and he will tell you all about it and how it “sucks getting old.” He spent his youth swimming and then added water polo in high school and a year of basketball. While attending Humboldt State University swimming was cancelled (thankfully) the year before he got there so he played polo for two years until that sport got cancelled. Not knowing how to live without being in a sport, he helped found the HSU Crew (rowing team) that practiced for more than a year before having any boats. He did finally graduate with a degree in forestry but skipped graduation ceremony to drive across the country to compete in the Pan American Trials in Princeton, NJ and Syracuse, NY in rowing. The remainder of that summer was spent rowing and traveling up and down the east coast from about Washington, DC in the south to St Catherines, Ontario in the north and east to Boston, MA.

Mark returned to the west coast and started his career in forestry, cruising timber in what was to become Redwood National Park. Not wanting to be old and still crawling around the bushes, fighting off bugs in the summer and cold rain in the winter he went back to HSU at night to work on a Masters in Business Administration which he completed a few years later. The forestry job ended, and not wanting to have to move to the SF Bay Area to continue with the forestry company, he made the only logical choice, he got a real estate license. This lasted for several years until he realized that he was no good at selling real estate and got into the finance end of real estate. He spent  25+ years as a loan officer and mortgage broker, the majority of the time self employed. He has just recently retired from that and now he is doing web design and has created many websites like this one for Team Red Dragon.

In some of his other endeavors he is a director at New Heart Community Church and a past president of the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka and very involved with Rotary’s Youth Exchange program. He has been treasurer for a number of organizations and clubs and even a couple of political campaigns. He has been an assistant Scoutmaster and watched his youngest of two sons reach the rank of Eagle Scout. He is totally devoted to his wife Karen (hope she reads this) and his two sons, Evan and Trent. Mark has also put in his time coaching youth soccer and baseball and did a stint as Babe Ruth president in Arcata, CA. He spent many years after college playing soccer with the adult league until he got too old. He also spend a number of years riding his mountain bike in the forest behind his home. Now he just sticks to golf and backpacking and will be living out his next great adventure, the Race Across America, through the rider that he will help to support, Michael Davies-Hughes.

Mark met Michael, MDH, through their Rotary club and actually missed the program that he presented to the club about RAAM.  Gradually he quested Micheal about the race and as more details came into focus he became more and more interested and decided to offer his help if he was needed (wanted). After seing what MDH has done to qualify for the race and his dedication to training Mark was all in. Not only would this be a great adventure, it would raise money for a very important cause, early childhood literacy. Michael has given him a couple books on the race that he has learned from and enjoyed. Mark has become involved in many different organizations and endeavors when he saw what other good people were doing there, and wanted to be a part of it. This was the case with MDH and Team Red Dragon. This is a somewhat selfish motive as he feels that being part of this great undertaking will make him better a better person. But he also hopes that he can make a significant contribution and even make some new friends along the way.

Mark may be best known, in his later years, for interrupting any conversation with the words, “That reminds me of a joke.” And then proceeding to tell it in spite of the protests from those who know him. And if at least one person in the group is even mildly amused, then another joke usually follows destroying (derailing) the train of thought in the conversation for good. Some say he has a great sense of humor, but others just call him a smart ass. If you are lucky enough to ever meet him, you may judge for yourself.