Rowe served as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World World War World War II After leaving the military he worked as a teacher and stockbroker. Rowe died at home in Cobourg, Ontario. In 1974, he was appointed Speaker after Allan Reuter was forced to resign due to poor health.
lieutenant was during Rowe"s term that the Speaker was given the added responsibility of administering the staff and operations of the legislative buildings and grounds.
The 1975 provincial election produced Ontario"s first minority government in thirty years presenting Rowe with a challenging and rowdy session. He was a popular speaker, however, considered "sweet-tempered" by MPPs on both sides of the House.
Rowe was appointed to a third term as Speaker following the 1977 election (which produced a second minority) but resigned shortly into the session to resume his seat on the backbench. He retired from politics before the 1980 general election.
In 1983, he was named to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
He was appointed Deputy Speaker in 1971 by Bill Davis and also chaired the select committee on economic and cultural nationalism in Canada.
Rowe was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1963 provincial election as the Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament (Master in Public Policy) for Northumberland riding.