Edward Michael Cowan
Edward Michael Cowan
  • July 3, 1950 - May 28, 2017
  • North Carolina

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Edward Michael Cowan passed away Sunday May, 28, 2017 at Moses Cone Hospital after suffering a sudden heart attack. He was born in Waynesville, NC July 3, 1950 to the late Harrison Taylor (H.T.) Cowan and Jennie Anders Cowan who is still living.

Mike began his life in Waynesville, NC and early in his life his family moved to Winston Salem because his father became a driver for McLean Trucking.

He attended elementary school, middle school and graduated from Parkland High School in 1968. He was just recently inducted into the Parkland Sports Hall of Fame. In 1983 he was in the first class of inductees for the Sportsman Club - Winston-Salem/Forsyth County High School Sports hall of fame along with Carl Eller and the sports writer Mary Garber.

Mike was a Central 4A All-Conference football player. The Greensboro Daily News and Charlotte News and Observer named him All-State in the 1967 Shrine Bowl. In 1968 Mike was an All-Star guard for the West squad and a 197-lb. state championship wrestler. Because of his prowess on the football field he earned a full football scholarship to North Carolina State University where he played under Earle Edwards.

After a year at school he decided to join Uncle Sam's Misguided Children otherwise known as the United States Marine Corps. He thought it would a great adventure until he stepped off the bus and onto those "yellow footprints" and thought "what the hell I have gotten myself into?" The Marine Corps taught him discipline, teamwork, respect and love of country. He never forgot those lessons and lived them until his sudden death.

Finishing up with the Corps, he returned to North Carolina State University and a football scholarship. This time the coach was the great Lou Holtz, a man Mike highly respected. By this time Mike had decided that his career choice was civil engineering with a construction option. He also joined the North Carolina Army National Guard and became a Heavy Combat Engineer. Remember it is just a weekend a month and two weeks in the summer- so not true!

Through the NCNG he had the opportunity to visit Quito, Ecuador, where his Engineer group built bridges across rivers for villagers to bring produce and goods to market, a project which helped the economy of a section of a poor country. Mike was amazed at the size of the insects in that country. Again, through the NCNG travel program he visited Italy twice, staying at Camp Darby. In Italy, Mike was amazed at the extremely narrow streets and the ability to eat a nice meal in a 500 year old building.

After graduating from North Carolina State University, Mike joined the NC Department of Transportation. He first earned his EIT and when the time came he passed his professional engineer exam and was able to add the initials P.E. behind his name. He was extremely proud of that accomplishment as it takes five years of work in engineering before an individual is eligible to take the PE exam and that is after passing the EIT exam. During his years at NCDOT he was involved in many major projects for improving the safety and road conditions for people traveling the roads of North Carolina.

After retiring from NC Department of Transportation, Mike joined the engineering firm, Volkert. This company along with SEPI built a major road project in the Raleigh/ Apex area. When that project was completed Mike decided to retire and just work part time.

While at North Carolina State University he spied a pretty coed who wouldn't give him the time of day. Eventually, through his charm and good looks he won her over. Her name was Rebecca and in 1977 he married that cute coed.

Mike and Becky have two children, Rachel Cowan, PhD of Miami, and Joshua E. Cowan of Greensboro, NC; and one well-loved and beautiful granddaughter, Kayla C. Cowan of Kernersville. Kayla was the apple of Mike's eye and they enjoyed many funny moments and joking around.

Mike was a wonderful, kind and gentle man. He loved life, his kids, his wife, his family and fishing. He will be remembered for his smile, twinkling eyes and positive attitude.

Mike and Becky loved to travel and had many adventures traveling the United States. They were fortunate enough to take their "dream of a lifetime trip" and visit the Netherlands - where Mike and Becky visited the village his ancestors immigrated from to the United States. They also visited Paris and loved it. This July, plans had been made to visit Maine and the northeast United States.

He is survived by wife Becky of the home. Daughter Rachel E. Cowan and significant other Rob Plagaro of Miami, FL, son Joshua E. Cowan and significant other Lindsey Drenter of Greensboro, mother Jennie Cowan of Kernersville, NC. His sisters Lona C. Ward and husband Ricky of Kernersville, Eva D. Cowan and wife Gail Dickerson of Danbury, NC, his brother Neal A. Cowan and wife Kim of Williamsburg, VA and one special granddaughter Kayla C. Cowan of Kernersville, NC. He is also survived by 10 nieces, nephews, a grandniece and a grandnephew. Additionally, Mike is survived by many Uncles, Aunts, and cousins in and around Waynesville, NC, Florida and California.

Mike was an organ donor and his wishes were followed to the extent they could be.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to "Toys for Tots". Mike believed every child should have a toy and was a big supporter of this organization. Contributions may also be directed to the Bruce Shelton Scholarship Fund at www.wsfoundation.org. Bruce Shelton was a friend of Mike's who started This End up Furniture while at NCSU. Sadly, Bruce died a young man suddenly from a heart attack, much like Mike.

Finally, Mike's favorite color was red, so if anyone