Rowe, Kenneth, 1924-2014 : As one of the most prominent Canadian philatelists Kenneth Rowe has been a member of numerous professional organizations, an advisor, consultant, author, and avid collector of philatelic and related material. The postal community in Canada lauded his appointed in 1987 to the advisory board of the Canadian Postal Museum, and the subsequent appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His involvement helped the program to get 'back on track' after decisions in 1985 by the Crown Canada Post Corporation caused temporary closure of the Museum and a stir in the Canadian philatelic community. A most prestigious honour was bestowed on him in 1995, when he was elected to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists, a most coveted philatelic achievement. Chosen from candidates from around the world, at that time he was one of only three Canadians ever recognized for their distinguished contributions to philately, since the establishment of the roll in 1921. The signing ceremony took place at the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain, held at Hayling Island, Hampshire in October of that year. Other recipients include the late Harry Sutherland (1930-2006), recent Secretary and International Liaison to the Society.
Kenneth Rowe was born on December 22, 1924, in Nantwich, Cheshire, England. His "collector's personality" emerged at the tender age of nine, when he began collecting stamps back in England. A stint in the army, during World War II did not stop his enthusiasm for the subject. His interest in international exhibitions was nurtured back in London during shows in the 1950's where he worked as a steward, and helped mount exhibits, and when his philatelic career gained momentum. He has credited Robson Lowe (1905-1997), "the grand old man of philately" in Britain as his inspiration. Rowe assisted his mentor in mounting exhibit pates at the London show in 1950. Lowe, a much loved personality, is known world-wide to collectors, dealers and students of philately for establishing valuation guidelines and developing the study of the subject.
At the age of 29 Kenneth Rowe, bringing with him his passion for philately, came to Canada, eventually settling in Burlington, Ontario.. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. He also studied Hospital Organization and Management. Both areas would serve him in his future endeavours. Although best known for his philatelic work, he was also heavily involved in a career as Hospital Administrator at the Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
His collecting interests include the following collections: The Postal History of Vienna, Postal History of the Crimean War, History of the Postcard in Canada, Christmas cards 1843 to 1945, History of Canadian Telegraphs, Canadian Customs Revenue Duty Stamps, Postal History of the Canadian Contingents in the Anglo-Boer War, Colombia 19th Century Issues, Postal History of Forwarding Agents, Post Office Box 506 Lisbon, Post Office Box 252 New York, and so on and of course general ephemera.
Ken Rowe was a prolific writer and his written some 40 articles, also columns, expositions, and monographs. The author of five philatelic books, he is probably best known for his books on postal markings of forwarding agents: The Forwarding Agents, published in 1966 and Postal History of Forwarding Agents, published in 1984. He became a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada in the early 1960's. He was a Vice-President of the Society and then editor of The Canadian Philatelist from 1967 to 1973, contributing articles to it, for example: studies on Anguilla, in 1968, "Victorian Christmas Cards," in 1986, "Birth of an International Exhibition - CAPEX." 1999, and "A Postman's Christmas," in 2003. Other articles he has written deal with related topics such as macro photography and postal strikes, the Montreal Telegraph Company, Economics of Philately, Philately in Wonderland, Colombia, the Numeral Issue of 1908, the Five Centavos, and more. A member of 10 philatelic organizations, some of note are: The V.G. Greene Philatelic Research Foundation (Chairman), and The Toronto Association for Philatelic Exhibitions Inc. (President).
Another lasting contribution to the field are Ken Rowe's presentations both national and international in scope. He was for many years a member of the FIP Commissions on Literature and Postal History. His continuing activity in the exhibition world has done much to invigorate and sustain the hobby, notably the Toronto CAPEX shows of '78, '87 and '96. He has acted as a national judge accredited by RPSC, and a FIP accredited international judge, serving between 1976 and 2000 as a member of 12 international juries, in places like: Helsinki, Philadelphia, London, New Delhi, and New Zealand. As well as a judge, Ken Rowe as an exhibitor has won several awards, such as Gold medals at Ameripex '86, Israphil '85, Capex '78. He was a key figure in organizing the youth exhibitions Canada '82 and Canada '92. He has received other award including the Canada Centennial Medal 1967, the Canada Silver Jubilee Medal 1977.
Kenneth Rowe died in Hamilton, Ontario on July 5, 2014.