Wade H. Gowl, 86

Trailer builder, horseman

May 27, 2007

Wade Hawthorne Gowl, owner of a modular building company and a Jarrettsville horse farm, died Tuesday of complications of Alzheimer's disease at the Continuum Care nursing home in Sykesville. He was 86.

The youngest of 13 children, Mr. Gowl was raised in South Baltimore and became a dental technician before founding the Atlantic Trailer Corp. in 1955.

Though the Middle River firm went bankrupt in 1978, Mr. Gowl restarted it as Porta-Space Inc. in Shrewsbury, Pa. The companies produced trailers for schools needing temporary classroom, barracks used by troops in Saudi Arabia and modular units that could be stacked atop hospitals wanting to expand. One unit served as a temporary jail in New York.

He was married for more than 50 years to Regina Gowl, who lives at the family farm. The couple had six children.

In 1965, the family purchased Cool Meadows Farm in Jarrettsville, where it raised show ponies and horses for competitions. "We'd have 18 horses for the six kids to ride and compete with, and we traveled all over the county and Canada," said his daughter, Kathleen Gowl Humphrey of Jarrettsville.

"He was very personable and had incredible charisma," she said. "He was the kind of person who walked into a room and would talk to everybody, tell jokes and make everyone feel comfortable."

Mr. Gowl withdrew from the modular building business about 17 years ago and dissolved the company.

Services were held Friday.

He is also survived by another daughter, Patricia Gowl of Jarrettsville; four sons, Wade Gowl, Kevin Gowl and Tim Gowl of Jarrettsville, and Michael Gowl of Humble, Texas;10 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

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