John Rowse was founder of Boston’s Community Boat Building

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John Rowse

John Rowse

John Rowse, founder of Community Boat Building and the Boston Building Materials cooperative, died earlier this year. He was 74.

A Massachusetts Marine Trades Association member, Rowse launched the nonprofit Boston Building Materials cooperative 40 years ago to help residents keep their homes and preserve their neighborhoods.

Rowse’s enthusiasm for teaching led to the formation of Community Boat Building in 2007. The program brings students in the Boston public school system together to work on boats and learn about maritime history. Rowse also helped launch The Passion to Teach fellowship for teachers.

“He had a genius for engaging, respecting and empowering people, especially kids, wherever he went,” said his son, Ben Naimark-Rowse, in a statement.


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