He married Malinda Lou Lyles in 1977, formerly of Fort Worth and Amarillo, now of Beeville, who survives. Other survivors include his sons, Christopher and Russell; a granddaughter, Lisa; a daughter-in-law, Silvia. Several beloved pets also survive.
Cowen rose to the rank of Navy Captain, was an administrator at Coastal Bend College for more than 22 years, and was a Beeville Rotary Club President. Cowen particularly enjoyed operating his FCC licensed Amateur Radio Station, W5JHC (ex-WA5TUM), for which he held the government’s highest license, that of Extra Class. Cowen was FCC-licensed nearly 50 years. He loved Classic, Milestone and muscle cars. He enjoyed reading non-fiction, viewing TV’s history, biography and science channels, and photography. His bachelor’s degree was from Sam Houston State University, and Cowen’s master’s degree was awarded by The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
After his return move to South Texas in the 1970s, Cowen learned that his maternal great-great grandfather, Charles A. Russell surveyed the town site of Beeville for Capt. A. C. Jones, who is recognized as the father of Beeville. Russell and Jones oversaw the first land auction to form the town. Another maternal great grandfather, George Claver Brightman of Goliad, is buried in that city’s park under a plaque honoring veterans of the War of 1812, and Russell’s grave is in Old St. Mary’s Cemetery near Bayside. Cowen’s father’s family included immigrants from Norway who were early settlers of the Norse Community in Bosque County.
Cowen served as the district intelligence officer for Headquarters, Eighth Naval District, New Orleans, with a five-state area of supervisory responsibility. He was former commanding officer of a Naval Investigative Service Regional Office (now renamed the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Cowen commanded a Naval Investigative Security Group and he was a key officer in intelligence and security projects for a three-star Pacific command. He accomplished similar tasks for the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, and for the Chief of Naval Operations. He bore special intelligence tasks during the Vietnam War years from aboard three carriers.
Cowen, a graduate of numerous military schools, was the top graduate in his NCIS Special Agent Class. He continued in security, intelligence and anti-terrorism work in the naval reserve through the 1980’s and retired in 1987 with the rank of Captain. Cowen also had worked in communications posts for the Albuquerque Public Schools, The University of Albuquerque, and Pioneer Corp.
Visitation was held from 6-8 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, 2014, at Galloway & Sons Chapel. Graveside service was held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
The Cowen family requests that donations be made to the charity of one’s choice.