Obituary: John Rowan, businessman

John Rowan, who has died at 85, was managing director of the Wilson Peck music store in Sheffield, president of the city’s Chamber of Trade and former proprietor of the Hallam Book Centre.

John Rowan

John Rowan, who has died at 85, was managing director of the Wilson Peck music store in Sheffield, president of the city’s Chamber of Trade and former proprietor of the Hallam Book Centre.

Born into a large Catholic family in Bradford in 1935, he attended St Bede’s Grammar School, leaving at 16 to train as an apprentice electrician. During his National Service from 1956 he used his new skills as an air electrician in Fighter Command 219 Squadron. Subsequently, he moved into electrical retail at Brown Muffs department store in Bradford, followed by Debenhams and Taylor and Parsons.

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After a short spell as a manager for Debenhams in Hull, he joined the well-known music and piano shop Wilson Peck in Sheffield in 1971 and was appointed to the board in 1973.

He was also box office manager for the City Hall, and responsible for bringing to Sheffield such diverse acts as Shirley Bassey, The Who and the Bay City Rollers, amongst others, and was happy to regale listeners with fondly remembered backstage stories about Rod Stewart, Elton John and especially Tom Jones, whom he said sent out for fish and chips all round.

He was president of Sheffield Chamber of Trade for two consecutive years, and also became president of the Sheffield Hallamshire Catenian Association in 1978, a founder of the Notre Dame School Sheffield Parent Teachers Association and chief photographer for the new Diocese of Hallam.

Between 1983 and 2001, while he ran the Hallam Book Centre, he was president of the Catholic Walsingham Association in Sheffield and secretary of the Catholic Dining Club in the city.

After retirement he continued his involvement with Catholic life, becoming a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

He is survived by his wife, Angela, and by two daughters, and four granddaughters.