Kenny G. Rowlette

Rowlette is survived by his wofe, four siblings, two daughters and four grandchildren. (Photo by Kaitlyn Becker Johnson.)

Remembering a professor, historian and friend of Liberty 

Kenny G. Rowlette, 67, director and co-founder of the Civil War Chaplains Museum on Liberty University’s campus, and long-time employee at Liberty, unexpectedly passed away Friday, Oct. 26.

Originally from Kentucky, Rowlette received a B.A. in English from Berea College in 1973 and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Lynchburg College in 1979. He became a member of Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1980, and he quickly found home in Liberty’s community. 

He was a professor of English for 33 years, worked at the Jerry Falwell Library for five years and helped orchestrate Liberty’s annual Civil War Seminar, a conference hosted by the school’s Department of History.

Rowlette thoroughly enjoyed spearheading the Civil War Seminar, and he wished to live his final moments as Jerry Falwell Sr. lived his: at his job. Rowlette died in the JFL Friday afternoon, where he worked.  

Rowlette’s love for history, particularly the Civil War period, prompted the founding of the Civil War Chaplains Museum located on Liberty’s campus. The museum opened in January 2010 and continues to serve the Liberty community with historical information.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, of 47 years, four siblings, two daughters and four grandchildren.

Rowlette’s funeral was held Monday, Oct. 29, at Pate Chapel — the old TRBC facility — and the burial immediately followed at Virginia Memorial Park.

According to Dr. Cline Hall, retired associate professor of history and one of Rowlette’s long-time colleagues, Rowlette frequently found ways to stay occupied at Liberty.

“(He was) very friendly,” Hall said. “He was very willing to get involved in helping people and doing things for the school.”

Rowlette was a member of both the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Sons of Union Veterans. He also frequently participated in Civil War reenactments, representing generals on both sides. 

“He loved history,” President Jerry Falwell Jr. said at the funeral. “He was one of those people who really made Liberty University what it is today.”

Rowlette was burried in his work attire, a red JFL polo shirt.

“Kenny came to Liberty early enough to really understand the pioneer spirit of Liberty and to appreciate it,” Falwell said. “He saw the struggles, he understood it, and he stuck with us … that is really what made Liberty successful — that so many people saw and bought into the vision of what Liberty would become.”


  • Lisa Burcher Shipp

    Mr. Rowlette was also an English teacher at Liberty High School prior to his job as a professor. He was one of those teachers I will always remember as he was challenging and requiresd us to write thought provoking essays. Thanks for a job well done Mr. Rowlette and May you Rest In Peace.

  • I am shocked to hear of his passing… I only found out because I just tried to email him about a long-term civil war project he was helping me with, and the email failed.

    The project is a half hour documentary about civil war chaplain Fr. Peter Whelan of Andersonville prison– i.e. “The Angel of Andersonville.” The documentary is titled “In Defense of Dignity : The Story of Fr. Peter Whelan.”

    I interviewed Dr. Rowlette and his voice is in the documentary. Unfortunately, he never saw the completed documentary, and I think he figured it would be that way, since he kept asking me if he would be able to see it.

    The last email he sent me was on Friday, April 7, 2017. He simply said:
    “Will I be able to see the final version of the video? Thanks.”

    I unwittingly responded (abridged): “Absolutely. … Thank you for your support.”

    He was the most interested in the video and I so valued his approval.
    I ask Fr. Peter Whelan to greet him and thank him on my behalf.

    God rest him.

    I would like to present the documentary to his family, when I finish the final touches.
    If there is a way to contact them, I would like to do so.

    You can find the documentary trailer, with Dr. Rowlette’s voice, here:

  • Georgia Belle, my name is Ann Rowlette. I would like to have the finished product that included the voice of my husband Kenny Rowlette

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