Hugh Stewart Cowan passed away on September 29, 2002 at the age of eighty-one.
Hughie was born in Windsor, Ontario and at the age of ten travelled in a ‘24 Dodge Touring car with his parents, uncle, and his three brothers and sister to B.C. They settled on the shores of Francois Lake where they cleared land and started farming. At age 12, he shot his first moose which was the start of his career in hunting and trapping. In his teen years he became interested in forestry and was a Ranger’s Assistant between 1939 and 1941. This job allowed him to save money to buy the family a Model A pickup.
In 1942, Hughie enlisted in the services with his brother Tom and became a member of the 2nd Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery. Their first action was in England, then on to Italy and the Invasion of Sicily in 1943. Their next move was to Belgium, from there they joined the First Canadian Army and were active in the Liberation of Holland. The boys returned home in 1945 in good health, however Hughie had suffered extended exposure to gas during training in Brandon, Manitoba that created life-long breathing challenges for him.
Following the war, Hughie moved into business with the ‘Cowan Brothers’ operating a sawmill and doing custom baling. Hughie married Janet Allan in 1949 and they had two daughters, Lynda and Margaret. He took on the family farm at this time and started his guiding business which kept him busy into his seventies. He also drove the Collymount school bus from 1957 to 1979.
Music was a special gift he enjoyed throughout his life. He started playing the mandolin for local dances at eighteen, later taking up the violin and accordion. In his later years he enjoyed playing the organ.
Hughie’s friends were one of his greatest treasures. He loved having visitors to his home on the lake to share a cup of coffee, a game of crib, or to relax over happy hour. He always enjoyed friends staying for a few days to fish with or drive the old hunting trails to spot wildlife.
Hughie was a role model of compassion and understanding – taking care of family, supporting friends and visiting the sick were values he always upheld. His ready wit and cheerful disposition made him a friend to everyone he met. Hughie will be greatly missed but will be remembered as a shining light to us all.
Hughie is predeceased by his wife Janet and his brother Stewart. He is survived by his two daughters, Lynda (Bob Lyford), and Margaret Cooper, grandson Tyler Cooper, brothers Tom (Doreen) and Richmond (Jane), and sister Margaret Hickey.