Commentary: The Community Has Lost a Giant in Michael Roewe


A giant fell this week in Lewis County when Michael Roewe died. 

The man had an imposing voice and bearing, but if you could stop shaking long enough in Judge Roewe’s presence, you learned that he was kind, generous and intelligent with a heart for other people, his church and his community. Mike's life was connected to many iconic things in Lewis County. 

The Roewe family owned the theater downtown where Mike worked from a young age. He graduated from W.F. West in Chehalis and then attended Centralia College before going on to the University of Washington and Gonzaga Law School. 

He was a pillar of St. Joseph's church in Chehalis where he sang in the choir and trained the altar servers for generations. He served as a Lewis County District Court Judge for 14 years.

Mike had a strong reputation for integrity that extended to his marriage, his family, his faith and his community.  Mike was also a deep humanitarian, serving on the board of Cascade Mental Health, where I had the opportunity to work with him, Hope Alliance and the Housing Resource Center.

More details of his life will appear elsewhere in this newspaper but this commentary is from The Chronicle’s owners and staff because we want to pause with the rest of our community and recognize this fine man and what he meant to all of us. 

People like Mike Roewe are important to have in any good community. A person like Mike raises up everybody around him.   

We never wanted to look bad in Mike Roewe's eyes. People aspire to be and do better when people like Mike are in a community. He modeled a long list of virtues. Maybe we didn't all want to "be like Mike" but we definitely did not want Mike Roewe to think we were doing the wrong thing.

His passing was a sad shock to us and our community. He was a rock against which it seemed like all waves would break, and it is natural to imagine a person like that always being here. 

But we are reminded again of a lesson Mike modeled: always try to do the right thing and always work to help others and your community during the time we have because we are not here forever.

Godspeed Mike Roewe.