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Amy Gowan-Adams, ALS advocate

Amy Gowan-Adams, mother of Catherine Elizabeth and William Patrick Gowan, and wife of Robert Gowan, passed away Wednesday, August 15, at her home in Nashville, surrounded by her family, after a valiant three-year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Amy was born in Memphis, TN on August 31, 1966, grew up in Germantown, TN and graduated from Germantown High School. She graduated from the University of Tennessee, where she was a member of Phi Mu Sorority, and an ardent supporter of the Tennessee Vols. She was a season ticket holder from the time she graduated in 1988. She even went to several games after she had to be lifted from her car to her wheelchair. She could hold her own discussing the defensive or offensive line with any guy who thought he knew the UT football program. One of her proudest possessions was a framed orange-and-white-checkerboard piece of the end zone.

After graduation from UT, she joined State Farm Insurance as an arson and fraud investigator, and later as a claims adjuster. While working for State Farm and testifying in court for them on cases, she developed a strong interest in pursuing a law degree, fostered as well by her summer jobs working for her attorney friend in Memphis, Will Griffin, Sr., whose son, Will Griffin, Jr., was also pursuing a law degree from Nashville School of Law. She attained a law degree and passed the Tennessee Bar exam in 1997.

It was at law school where she met her future husband, Robert Gowan, and soon after law school, they quickly became more than friends and study mates. Robert and Amy were married in Nashville in on July 21, 2001 and settled down in the Oak Hill area. Amy was an attorney with Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford, and later with Premier Escrow. Robert is the managing partner with Southern Strategy Group of Tennessee.

In 2009, Amy began to exhibit neurological symptoms in her legs, and the ALS diagnosis was confirmed at Mayo Clinic. She and Robert were instrumental in developing an awareness of the disease among all their friends and acquaintances. Very active in the local chapter of ALS, they were chosen as the Nashville ALS Family of the Year in 2011, and raised more than $100,000 for research and assistance for victims of the disease.

Amy was predeceased by her father, Don R. Adams of Memphis. In addition to Robert and her children, she leaves her mother, Geneva Adams of Brentwood; her brother, Mike of Bristol, TN; a sister, Teresa Mathis of Columbia, SC, and a host of other nephews, nieces, in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins, and a million friends.

The family wishes to thank all the friends, family and acquaintances who served as help, hope and inspiration through their journey, particularly to Morgan Myles, for taking such extraordinary care of Catherine and Will since 2010.

A Memorial service for Amy will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, August 20, 2012 at Calvary United Methodist Church in Nashville. Visitation with Amy's family will precede the Memorial service beginning at 11 a.m. The family requests that donations in her memory be made to the following organizations: Amy's Army (Nashville Walk to Defeat ALS, October 27), Meals on Wheels (Martha O'Bryan Center) or the Calvary United Methodist Church Pastor's Fund (benefits needy folks in our community). Amy's last request was that no one be allowed to wear black at her Memorial service. In lieu of black, Amy requested that her friends and family wear one or more of the following colors: Orange - for obvious reasons; Blue - Catherine's and Amy's favorite color, and a tribute to her dad's beloved Memphis Tigers; Pink - Will's and Catherine's favorite color and the color of her Phi Mu sisters, in tribute to the joy and care that they gave Amy and her family; Green - representing nature and the outdoors; that's where Amy found God and spirituality. Nashville Funeral and Cremation Service, LLC, (615) 256-1605.
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