Veteran of the Month: Sharon Lynn Rowland (Duf) – United States Air Force

She was known as “Duf” to family and friends.

After high school, Duf’s grandfather encouraged her to join the military. Duf chose the United States Air Force. 

After boot camp at Lackland AFB, Ms. Rowland was sent to Andrews AFB, where she worked at NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Her data processing knowledge made her a definite asset to NORAD, headquartered at Cheyenne Mountain outside Colorado Springs.  NORAD radar systems are responsible for early warning missile and aircraft attacks flying over the United States and Canada.

After her discharge from the United States Air Force, Duf moved to Mill Valley outside San Francisco where she worked for McKesson, Incorporated, the nation’s largest distributor of medical equipment.

Ms. Rowland was an active outdoor enthusiast and so after retirement, she traveled, visiting, among other places, the French Polynesian islands (Tahiti, Bora Bora, Mo’orea). Later, she journeyed to Arizona for an adventurous white water rafting trip on the Colorado River, through Grand Canyon National Park.

One of her favorite activities while living in Belen was becoming an avid fan of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Through the years she volunteered on chase crews, enjoying early mornings, excited people and, always, those colorful balloons.

Among her hobbies, Duf traveled around New Mexico photographing scenes everywhere in the “land of enchantment”. She especially loved photographing birds, spending many carefree hours at the Bosque del Apache, Bernardo and other wildlife areas. More than all other birds, Duf loved the hummingbird, regularly feeding her small visitors and providing water for bird baths in spring and summer. She also collected Native American art and pottery.

Throughout her lifetime, Duf faithfully flew the American Flag at her home every day. 

She loved her God.  She was a leader at St. Matthew Episcopal Church in Los Lunas, where she served as Bishop’s Warden for many years.

Sharon Lynn Rowland passed away on August 1st, 2021. She was 79 years old.  Duf was honored by her friends, family and her church leader with a ceremony at the Belen Veterans Memorial, where a brick was placed in her honor. Her final resting place is at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan.