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In Memory

Greg Cowen

Greg Cowen

Written by Greg's son, Scott Cowen,

Early this morning (10/13/2015) my father Greg Cowen unexpectedly passed away. He was happy, healthy and 68 years old. The doctor could not fully understand what happened but it would basically be described as a heart attack. I am grateful to have lived as long as i have with him in my life. He was a great man and touched the lives of many. It will be a difficult time for our family and thank you ahead of time for the love, support and understanding. Please let me know if you would like my mothers address. We will have a memorial for him on Saturday, October 24th, 2015 at the Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay. Ginny Sachse Cowen, Jenna Cowen

 
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10/17/15 10:03 AM #13    

Judith A Haas (McKeehan)

Greg was really one of the "good guys".  What a loss.


10/18/15 03:34 PM #14    

John C Selden

What a shock!!!!!! Great time visiting Greg at the reunion and Dean's post couldn't have said it better.Going to miss that great smile and laugh he always brought.


10/23/15 10:00 AM #15    

Dale (Happy) E Greenough

Scott,

Good job describing your dad, my friend and co-worker at Spokane Country Club. I am thankful for the few golden moments we had together at the reunion! It is always wise to seize those moments and make the most of them as we obviously do not know what will happen or when. Our love and prayers go out to you and your family may the comfort of Jesus be yours! We truly wish we could be there at the service with you to celebrate his life!


11/13/15 07:35 PM #16    

Dennis Dormaier

Written by Mike Farley (posted by Denny)

 

I’ve been wanting to write something about my buddy Greg Cowen for quite some time, but, I guess, it took me this long to get over the shock of his passing and for me to be able to do it. I was at work and unable to answer my cell phone right away, but I’ll never forget the sadness in Ginny’s, his wife, voice in the message she left asking me to call her as soon as possible. Within a half an hour I got another call from Joe Brown and I knew something bad must have happened.

I met Greg in the fall of 1961 in the hallowed halls of Mead Junior High. I was new to the Mead system and the only two people I knew were Sandy George and Joe Brown. Oddly enough, Sandy and I had attended Sacajawea J. H. the year before and, by coincidence, found ourselves across town in a new school. My mom met Joe at the Spokane Country Club during the summer and, through her efforts to hook us up, he and I had already become running mates before school started. With my basis of two I was anxious to add to the list of my friends and Greg’s smile and friendly personality made him a perfect target. Besides, I felt it would be a great idea to be on the good side of a very popular 9th grader that already had hair on his chest, a 5 o’clock shadow by noon, and a ton of girlfriends, if you get my drift.

Our friendship grew strong through sports. As it turned out, we would play football and wrestle together for 4 years. In the Spring Greg pursued track, while I tried my hand at baseball. Even with the perceived rivalry between those two sports, our friendship prospered. I will have to admit, though, that for a significant period we all had to compete with Kathy Britton for any time with Greg, sports or not.

To this day two of my passions are skiing and fly fishing. I owe Greg for my introduction to skiing. On one of our frequent snow days at Mead Tech Greg called and asked if the street in front of my house was covered in snow. I said that it was and he told me not to go anywhere for a couple hours. He was coming over. Greg showed up with a bunch of his brother’s ski gear and proclaimed that he and I had to learn to ski, because his brother was having too much fun at it and we needed a piece of the action. For hours we hiked up Briar Cliff Drive and slid down until we were Olympic champions. At the end of the day he said, “We’re ready!” I couldn’t help asking, “Ready for what?” and he told me we were headed to Mt. Spokane the next day, because that’s where his brother skied.

The next morning, there we were with our rag tag outfits in line for the Big Chair. I never will never get over the feeling of standing there wondering what the heck we were doing, while Greg was pointing and saying, “Farley, see that over there? That’s the bunny hill. That’s what we did yesterday. Today, we’re going to the top!”

I have no idea how we ever got on that chair without derailing it, but we made it. On the ride up the mountain, I started to notice that the terrain was a little different than yesterday’s gentle Briar Cliff Drive run. Somehow, we slid down the off-ramp and gathered ourselves. Checking out our surroundings, we were soon collectively petrified. At about the same time we looked at each other and asked, “What have we done?” That place had deep snow, big trees and rocks and narrow pathways with skiers in some kind of contest to get to the bottom the fastest. Greg and I may have set the record for the slowest decent down Mt. Spokane, ever!

After high school Greg went to Wazzu and I headed off to The U. The rivalry between the schools actually strengthened our relationship. We got together every Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation to pay off our traditional pitcher of beer (or two) bet on the Apple Cup. After graduation Greg and I actually lived together in Seattle for awhile. He sold suits at Frederick and Nelson and I sweated out classes at dental school. In 1973 after the long grind of school was over Greg served as one of the groomsmen in my wedding. Shortly after that Greg moved to California and the times we could get together became fewer.

You guys may not know that Greg joined the Air National Guard and became a pilot. He, actually, maintained his private pilot’s license for several years after his service. At some point during his time in California Greg learned to sail, too. One of his favorite family vacations was to rent a large sailboat and cruise around the Caribbean. Ya, that surprised me, too! A couple years after leaving Seattle he married Ginny. My wife, Cheri, and I (before kids) would look for any excuse to get down to the Bay Area and enjoy San Francisco. Greg and Ginny didn’t live far from The City and would often join us for dinner, or a show or just cocktails and a good time. Ever the prankster, on one of our evenings out, Greg paid Carol Doda (Google her) to sit on my lap and sing, much to my wife’s disapproval.  

Distance became quite a deterrent to expanding my comradery with two of my best high school buddies, Joe Brown and Greg. Joe had, also, moved to California several years before and the three of us found ourselves only getting together at our high school reunions and staying in touch by phone or email. Those reunions became our avenue for making up for lost time and strengthening our friendship. We would make sure we stayed at the same hotel and shared rides to the reunion events. I believe Joe has some pictures of us on the golf course, too.

It was at the 45th reunion that Joe came up with one of the best ideas of his life. He pointed out that it was ridiculous that for as good of friends that we had become that we only saw each other every 5 years. We made a pact to meet in Vegas for a long weekend every summer. That tradition continued even through Greg’s battle with throat cancer. In fact it was on one of those trips that Greg noticed the nagging sore throat that changed his life. Last summer Greg skipped the Vegas trip, because we were having our 50 year reunion at about the same time. I can’t tell you how excited he was to come to Spokane and see all our classmates. There was a time, when he wasn’t sure that he’d even be able to travel to another reunion again.

Before the reunion weekend Greg called to ask me for a ride back to Seattle after our party, so he could see his brother, Bruce. Those five hours in my car will go down as one of my fondest memories of my ol’ buddy. We talked and reminisced nonstop all the way, even to the point that I had to pull over in Ellensburg to get Greg a bottle of water, because he was going hoarse. It was during that trip that I figured out that the thing Greg liked best about getting away and carousing with his pals was the feeling he got, when he returned home to be with his loving family. Greg had a great four days with his brother and flew home to Half Moon Bay, CA and Ginny, Scott, and Jenna. A short few weeks later we all got the dreadful news that Greg had suffered a fatal heart attack.

His celebration of life was quite was quite an impressive ceremony and made me feel proud to be his friend. Greg and his family were active in the community Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay and had become beloved by the entire community. There must have been around 400 people in standing room only attendance. The beginning of the service was military in nature with the local Air Guard presenting The Flag to the family. A few people got to speak and I was able to reflect on our friend’s Mead H. S. years, as well as a couple personal stories.

Greg was one heck of a good guy and a valued friend and confidant. It’s going to take awhile for me to accept the fact that he won’t be meeting Joe and me in Vegas next summer. I guess we owe Joe for being the ramrod in pushing to have an annual rendezvous with three great pals and making the most out of the time we had together. As it turns out, we are reminded that life is short and we shouldn’t take any part of it for granted. Rest in peace, Greg. You were loved by all and Joe and I have your six.     


11/14/15 01:07 PM #17    

Mary E Jackson (Jackson-Lambert)

So saddened by this.. What a great guy he was. So sorry for his family.


11/15/15 03:01 PM #18    

Samantha Gai Chamberlain (Kostelecky)

What a wonderful rememberance Mike.  Those memories will always be cherished and now I know Greg even better.  I'm so thankful we had that extra time with him after the reunion.  It makes it that much more precious.  I knew you were friends but didn't know the full extent of it and I loved all the stories.  Great job.  I loved it.  Thanks so much for sharing.


11/16/15 06:18 AM #19    

Clarice Little (McKenney)

In reading Mike Farley's reminiscences of his dear friend, Greg Cowen, I felt as if I had known Greg myself. Mike's stories about their friendship are so heart-felt and real that they seem like a screen play for a warm and wonderful movie.  But better than any movie; theirs was a real-life experience of sharing.  It's a story of being responsible young men, growing through and surviving the free-for-all '60s and becoming loving husbands and fathers. Greg's family and friends have lost so much from Greg's death, but Mike vividly illustrated with this memorial how the joys shared in life can overcome so great a sense of loss. As a classmate who only observed Greg for a year and from a distance, I'm thankful Mike shared his friend in this way. Clarice (Little) McKenney


11/17/15 02:25 PM #20    

Colleen L Leyde (Jew)

I remember our 20th class reunion when Greg talked about his wife and how excited he was about their expected child.  He was glowing with love and happiness.  Mike's comment about his friendship with Greg are heartwarming and I am so glad they were able to spend time together  and laugh about the old days.  I enjoyed the short time we had at our last reunion and I admit I am still struggling to understand how such a vibrant, healthy person should die so suddenly.  Prayers for his family and friends.


11/18/15 12:45 PM #21    

Jeanne M Tweedy (Loddeke)

To Mike,

 Your rememberances of Greg were truley amazing and not known by many of us.  How wonderful that you could share them with all our classmates.  How much fun you and your families must have had over the years!

My heart amd prayers go out to his family and all who loved him and were his strength.

How fortunate Greg was to have such beautiful and supportive friends of over 50 years, you and Joe.  How fortunate you and Joe were to have such a friend as Greg.  We should all be so lucky. Hit the tables in Las Vegas for hime next summer!

Jeanne

 

 


11/18/15 01:23 PM #22    

Richard F Abell

Like everone has said" Greg was one of the good guys"---we used to pull people over with his red light and the 55 Ford he had-can not rember the color, maybe someone can remind me. Was so much fun.  Greg gave me advice about girls, cars and life in general.    Wish he was still here


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