Charles L. Gowland Sr., co-founder of Chabill’s Tire and Auto Service LLC, died Jan. 24. He was 76.
Gowland and Billy Parker founded Chabill’s in 1968 after BFGoodrich approached the two men about selling tires in Morgan City, La. They combined their first names into the store name. Over the next five decades the business grew to 18 locations and more than 130 employees.
On New Year’s Day, Gowland had turned over leadership of Chabill’s to his daughter, Elizabeth “Beth” Gowland Barron, who took over as CEO upon his retirement.
Gowland was a native of New Orleans and resident of Morgan City for 62 years. He was a graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Morgan City and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.
Gowland was a longtime member of Modern Tire Dealer’s National Advisory Council and was a member of the Louisiana Independent Tire Dealers Association (LITDA) for several years and served on the board of directors for the last 20. During his tenure he served as president, vice president, and convention chairman.
He was a parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where he served as a lector for 13 years. He was a long-time member of the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce and served on its board of directors. He was also a member and past president of Rotary. He was a strong supporter of area schools, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and also of youth activities in each of the communities served by his business.
He was also a mentor to young men and women in the tire business. Gowland was inducted into the LITDA Hall of Fame in 2009. Chabill’s was honored by the St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce with the distinction of Business of the Year and also recognized for being in business for 50 years.
Gowland is survived by his wife of 51 years, Peggy Cefalu Gowland; his children, Catherine David and husband Tim; Beth Barron and husband Carey; Charles L. Gowland Jr.; and Joanna Marx and husband Jeffrey; 14 grandchildren; his sister, Judy Edwards and her husband Terry; and his brother Paul Gowland and his wife Susan.
Visitation will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, at Twin City Funeral Home in Morgan City, with a rosary at 7:30 p.m. Visitation will resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Morgan City, with a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in Morgan City Cemetery.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Maintenance Fund, P.O. Box 632, Morgan City, La.; Central Catholic High School, 2100 Cedar St., Morgan City, La.; or Come, Lord Jesus!, 1804 West University, Lafayette, La. 70506.