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Christopher Nicol McGowen
Viewing: March 7, 2017 (Tuesday) from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at church
Service: March 7, 2017 (Tuesday) at 11:00 a.m.
Location: Calvary Baptist Church

Christopher Nicol McGowen, age 47, of Washington, DC, passed away Thursday, March 2, 2017. His last days were filled with visits from friends and family, and his abiding faith gave him peace for the final journey. 

Chris was born on April 2nd, 1969 in Wiesbaden, Germany, to Olene Head McGowen and the late John Earl McGowen of Huntsville. John McGowen served in the United States Air Force throughout Chris’ childhood, and the family lived in many places, including Colorado, Arizona, Hawaii, and finally, Alabama. From an early age, Chris had a boundless determination to succeed, which was reflected in his early life choices and activities. As a child, he would await with great anticipation the latest episode of the television series, “Life Styles of the Rich and Famous,” and the latest issue of the Robb Report. Chris acquired his business acumen from his father, an entrepreneur who started many small businesses throughout his lifetime. His mother provided Chris with a strong faith, a love of people, and a spirit of endless generosity.

 Chris was baptized at an early age at Peoples United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs, CO. He was a member of Center Grove United Methodist Church in Huntsville, AL, where he rededicated his life to Christ. 

Chris graduated from S.R. Butler High School in Huntsville, Alabama, and received his Bachelors in Communications from Auburn University. His interest in politics was fueled by Illinois Senator Paul Simon, whom Chris admired for his penchant for bowties. As he advanced through high school and college, Chris served as a member of the Student Government Association, Spirit Club, and as a University Ambassador and substitute Aubie (Auburn University mascot). He participated in several Butler High School athletic teams, and was an accomplished soccer player from 2nd grade through high school. 

Chris moved to Washington, DC for the first time in 1992. He worked briefly as a producer for C-SPAN (Booknotes), then served as a staffer on Capitol Hill, including as Deputy Press Secretary to Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma. He left the Hill in 1996 to assist his father in a business venture affiliated with the Atlanta Olympics. After the Olympics, and what he dubbed a “quarter-life crisis” year in Colorado, Chris returned to Atlanta and put his Communications degree to work in the fields of public affairs and marketing, including positions at Cohn & Wolfe Public Affairs and Turner Broadcasting, and finally as a freelance consultant to several Atlanta technology firms. In 2002, he found his true calling in the world of government affairs, as he lobbied the state of Georgia on behalf of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

 In 2001, Chris met and briefly dated the roommate of the person who would change his life forever. Through that relationship, Chris met Kristi Barksdale, a North Carolina native. After a three year courtship, they were married and began a beautiful partnership. Theirs was a mixed marriage – one Republican, one Democrat; one Methodist, one Baptist; one extrovert, one introvert – but a perfect balance. In 2003, Chris was diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disorder, Polymyositis, which would affect both of their lives and lend urgency to Chris’ determination to have a positive impact on the world around him. In 2004, Chris and Kristi relocated to Washington, DC, where Chris joined the newly formed Novo Nordisk Government Affairs office. He would remain with Novo for 10 years, eventually moving into a position as head of the State Goverment Affairs department. In 2014, Chris opened the Government Affairs office for Omada Health, and in January of 2017, did the same for the Insulet Corporation. 

 Chris McGowen was a man of many passions: snazzy clothing, college football, cooking on his many grills, expensive cars, military history, politics, fishing, investing, and more. He was a friend to all, and a mentor to many. Friendships followed him through the many stages of his life – he kept up with elementary school friends from Hawaii, high school friends from Alabama, college friends from Auburn, young adult friends from Atlanta, and the many colleagues, associates, and random strangers he met in DC. Many Capitol Hill staffers owe their jobs to a phone call or connection from Chris, and many have transitioned to the lobbying world under his guidance. He never entered a room where he wasn’t known to at least one person, if not at the start, then certainly by the end.

Christopher Nicol McGowen leaves to cherish his memory his wife Kristi, mother Olene of Huntsville, brother Carl of Montgomery, parents-in-law Bob & Carol Barksdale of Raleigh, NC, sister-and brother-in-law Erin and Dedric Terry and niece and nephew Brenna and Aidan Terry of Colorado Springs, CO, god-sister Latana Erves (Jimmy) and god-nephews McKinley and Xavier of Huntsville, a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and a multitude of friends, many as close as family.

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