January 29, 2023
Annapolis, US 42 F

Eddie McGowan, founder of Annapolis Irish Festival, Santa Speedo Run passes away at 48

Eddie McGowan; one of the original members of the popular Irish rock band Dublin 5 (originally The Rovers), founder and director of the Annapolis Irish Festival, and the brainchild of the Annapolis Santa Speedo Run has passed away after a nearly four-year battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

McGowan, of Arnold, leaves behind his wife, his three children, and his parents along with thousands of friends.  McGowan is a product of Broadneck High School and Towson University, and never strayed far from home.

He was an entrepreneur with a successful contracting business who had a penchant for fun. And just as business was business…fun was fun.  Eddie was an accomplished musician  playing the guitar and bagpipes. This led to the formation of the popular Irish rock band, Dublin 5 (formerly the Rovers) with lead singer and guitarist Ray Murphy. From there it was only a short step to the start of the Annapolis Irish Festival which made it’s debut in 2011 and will return again in June 2018. The Annapolis Irish Festival is responsible for more than $200,000 in donations to local charities ranging from Bello Machre, to The Annapolis Wellness House, to the Chesapeake Bay Trust and many more.

When not working, playing the bass, planning the Irish festival, or coaching his kids’ ball teams, or fishing, he likely was thinking of the next fun thing to do. Enter the Annapolis Santa Speedo Run.  After all, what could be more fun than donning a speedo in December and running around Annapolis?  Eddie used to get a kick out of taunting the City. There never was a permit pulled for the race despite the City’s insistence. Eddie simply claimed that it was a group of folks that happened to dress alike and decide to “stroll” around Annapolis at the same time. He even spent some time with Martin Short on stage at Maryland Hall.

To those who knew Eddie, their lives were undoubtedly much richer for the experience. I consider him a friend and my life is a bit darker today; but I am thankful that his pain is gone and I am sure his life is much brighter.

His wife Tracy said it best…

So ALS won, as we knew it would. Eddie’s fate was diagnosed years ago but it didn’t soften the extreme loss we felt yesterday at his passing. This grief will follow our family for the rest of our lives, softened only by knowing that he is no longer suffering.

Words really cannot express the gratitude we have for the outpouring of kindnesses we have received over the past few years. We have been been blessed daily with positive thoughts, prayers, visits, cards, food, carpool rides, etc. Eddie felt such love from all of you who have been so good to us. It continues now with the beautiful messages and memories we see posted here. Thank you for all recognizing him for the incredible man he was.

God, please take this kind, good soul in your arms and protect him until we meet again.

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