Goodbye, Les Cowan

Sep 14, 2013 | 1 comment

Pete Hanner (l) and Les Cowan at a House Concert

Les Cowan (right) with Pete Hanner, Oystervillke House Concert 2012

Les Cowan was a gentleman in every sense of the word.  He was dignified, well-spoken and, above all, courtly in his manners.  He enjoyed socializing and he and Kaye came to almost all of our House Concerts.  After each one, Les would say, “That was the best one yet!”  And he always meant it.

We first met Les shortly before he and Kaye were married.  I can’t remember the occasion – perhaps it was one of our cockamamie picnics or maybe at Gordon’s Annual Christmas Party.  Whatever the occasion, I remember thinking,  “This is a brave man.”  Granted, he was crazy about Kaye and vice-versa but, still, he was more-or-less stepping into Charles Mulvey’s huge shoes.

Les and Kaye

Les and Kaye at a CPHM event

Charlie was a hard act to follow but never once did I see Les flinch or look annoyed when he was introduced as “Kaye Mulvey’s husband.”  If that bothered him, he never let it show.  As host and master of the house in which Charles and Kaye had lived for so many years, he was gracious and self-assured.   And, in 2010, when the Heritage Museum did a retrospective exhibit of Charlie’s work, Les faded into the background and let Kaye take the spotlight.  That’s just the way he was.

A Ronco Family Enterprise

Les Cowan

When Les died in July, he was 92.  Hard to believe!  Until the last few months, he didn’t show his age.  Granted, he was no longer ‘dancing the light fandango’ as he was in his 80s when Kaye met him, but he was still driving and playing bridge and meeting his men friends each Tuesday for lunch.  He was of the old school when it came to talking about his ailments – he just didn’t.

Tomorrow there will be a memorial service for Les at the Columbia Heritage Museum.  We won’t be able to attend as we will be hosting a long-since scheduled House Concert.  Fitting in a way.  I’m sure Les will be listening and thinking “The best one yet!”

1 Comment

  1. Marion

    I had met Les a few times at your Friday night events and always thought he was such a gentleman. I would never have guessed he was in his 90’s. He will be missed by all of his friends and mostly Kaye.


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