Arnold David Gowans

Date of Birth

September 8, 1928

Date of Death

January 15, 2020

Known for his calm temperament, kindness, and devotion to his family, Arnold David Gowans passed away peacefully on January 15, 2020, at the age of 91.

Born on September 8, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan, to Madeline and William Gowans, Arnold was the oldest of their two sons. From a young age, he showed great promise as both a student and an athlete, so it came as no surprise to his parents that he chose to attend his father’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. A proud Wolverine, Arnold earned degrees in business, engineering and law, and remained an avid fan of the school, especially the football team, throughout his life. He was thrilled that his grandson, John, a recent Michigan graduate, decided to carry on the family tradition.

After Arnold graduated with his J.D., he moved to Santa Barbara and practiced law, welcoming the opportunity for a respite from Michigan’s freezing winters. In 1973, soon after Arnold’s arrival in the Golden State, California’s then governor Ronald Reagan appointed him to the bench as a municipal court judge. Known for his compassion, fairness, and ability to listen, Arnold was respected by attorneys on both sides of the aisle. He served as President of the Bar Association and President of New House, a sober living facility, retiring from the bench in 1993.

Although Arnold loved the law, his second love was tennis. He was a great admirer of Rod Laver, not just for his technical and athletic ability, but also for his sportsmanship and composure on the court. Like Laver, Arnold was a lefty with a classic serve and volley game. He was a Santa Barbara City champion and later became a nationally ranked senior. After he retired from the law, he traveled all over the United States with his doubles partner to play in Masters tournaments. In his everyday life, Arnold was a gentle and reflective person, but he became an intense and powerful competitor on the tennis court.

Arnold was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Prentice. He leaves his loving wife of forty-four years, Barbara; his son, Arnold David Gowans, Jr.; daughter, Sandra Starkey, and son-in-law, David Starkey. He also leaves grandchildren Serena Bottiani-Henderson (Jared), Andrea Bottiani, Julia Bottiani, John Chambliss and Miranda Starkey, along with his three-year old great grandson Luca Santizo.

In lieu of flowers, donations to honor his memory can be given to your favorite charity. Special thanks to Heritage House, Dr. Harbaugh, the Visiting Nurses/Hospice, and to David Yossem and Steve Drummy for their extraordinary kindness and loving care. There will be a celebration of Arnold’s life at La Cumbre Country Club on February 22, 2020, at 4 p.m.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.