The Rowles family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

The Rowles family


Robert and Rose Marie Rowles have been married for 51 years; the neighborhood stalwarts have lived in their North Minneapolis home for 47 of those years.

A neighborhood institution

“We’ve been married 51 years,” Robert Rowles said proudly as he sat down with his wife, Rose Marie, at their kitchen table to share their story. For 47 of those years, the Rowleses have been residents of their North Minneapolis neighborhood. Now they are excited that Habitat for Humanity has committed its energy and resources to expanding the reach of revitalization going on in their neighborhood.

“It’s an unselfish thing to fix up homes and a neighborhood,” Robert Rowles said. “Maybe people will come back to North Minneapolis now.”

During the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, their home will receive touch-ups from volunteers through Habitat’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Rose Marie is excited to receive help in improving the exterior of her home. “It will make me feel better that we’re not just letting things go,” she said.

She looks forward to feeling pride again when she looks at her home, and to planting flowers to match the refreshed façade next year.

Rose Marie spent 35 years feeding students in the Minneapolis Public Schools system. Robert, a veteran of the Korean War, is retired from working as an independent truck operator. They now spend their weekdays watching three of their great-grandchildren, while their granddaughter works as a medical assistant in Minneapolis. They have been generous in opening their home to their family, offering their children a place to stay and watching little ones when needed.

The Rowleses have weathered the ups and downs in their neighborhood, and signs of renewal in the area encourage them. Rose Marie acknowledged that North Minneapolis has gotten a bad reputation, but she now holds hope that it will be restored to what it once was: “a beautiful neighborhood.”