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Lumber pioneer McGowin Jr. dies

Published 1:34pm Thursday, December 2, 2010

Norman Floyd McGowin Jr., 79, whose family established a lumber mill in Chapman that evolved into one of the state’s largest manufacturing industries, has died.

McGowin Jr. was the son of N. Floyd McGowin Sr. and the grandson of J.G. McGowin, founder of the W.T. Smith Lumber Company, which was incorporated in 1891. It was sold to Union Camp Corp. in 1966 and is currently operated by Coastal Forest Products in Chapman.

McGowin Jr. was involved in the forestry industry for his entire career, working initially at W.T. Smith as a sales manager. He owned Rocky Creek Logging Company, which was under contract with Union Camp, after W.T. Smith was sold.

He was an accomplished pilot and was certified in 2009 as a Master Pilot by the FAA after 50 years of flying. He was a 1997 inductee into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame.

Alabama Aviator quoted McGowin Jr. as saying about flying, “I think the things I enjoyed the most is the beauty of the things you see flying, the sky, the country and the world.”

Arrangements are being handled by Dunklin & Daniels Funeral Home.

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