Father Don Cowie, the third of 11 siblings, was born July 13, 1929 to Sylvester and Mary McKenna Cowie in Kirkwood, Missouri. He first met the Marianists at Eugene Coyle High School. After graduating in 1947, he attended Saint Louis University and majored in chemis- try. After a year, he realized how much he missed the Marianists stating, “They were focused on doing something good for the world, so I decided to join them.” At the age of 19, Fr. Cowie was older than many members of his novitiate group in Wis- consin. He took first vows as a Marianist on August 15, 1949 at Marynook in Galesville, Wis- consin. Upon his graduation from St. Mary’s University in 1952 with an English degree, Fa- ther Cowie began his teaching ministry at McBride High School, in St. Louis. He professed final vows back in Galesville on July 19, 1953. In the subsequent years, Fr. Cowie taught at Marianist schools in Wisconsin and Texas and spent some time in Fribourg, Switzerland, where he studied for the priesthood. He was ordained on July 16, 1961. Fr. Cowie first joined the Central Catholic High School faculty in 1974 and taught until 1980. Then, following a 14-year assignment at St. John Vianney in St. Louis, he returned to CCHS in 1994 – this time for good. Throughout his 66 years of teaching, Fr. Cowie was known for his piety, wry sense of humor, and ending nearly every class with a 23-question verbal quiz. Fr. Cowie proclaimed himself a “book teacher”. He said, “Students don’t need to watch more movies or be on the internet, but they do need to pay attention to written text, which is still incredibly crucial for a college education.” Fr. Cowie was an indefatigable icon at Central Catholic teaching until the age of 88. His battle with prostate cancer or suffering a heart attack never discouraged him from re- maining active. Members of the community remark at the undeniable devotion and passion for serving others. Bro. Harry Cornell ’58 said, “Teaching, saying daily mass at school, hear- ing confessions after school or for the community, and doing such things as washing all of the community’s cars, keeping our residence clean and orderly, and being present at all of our daily prayers – he was always there for others.” In addition to serving Central Catholic High School, he also served seven different youth camps (Tecaboca, Honey Creek, Mystic, Stewart, Waldemar, Heart of the Hills, and Vista Camp) which welcomed Fr. Cowie each summer for the past 40 years to celebrate masses in the Texas Hill Country.
In his final weeks, Fr. Cowie continued to pray for our students, faculty, staff and the entire Central Catholic High School community.
Fr. Cowie passed away and began his eternal journey with Our Lord and Mary, Our Mother, the evening of November 8, 2018. He was surrounded by loving friends and by the many thoughts and prayers of all those whose lives he touched. In addition to his Marian- ist Brothers and Community, Fr. Cowie is survived by his sister, brother, nieces, and neph- ews.
We give thanks to God for Fr. Cowie’s life and his incredible dedication to nurture Mary’s children on earth and to see the face of God in others as he joins Communion of Saints in heaven.
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