Gerald Eugene Cowan
Gerald Eugene Cowan
  • October 4, 1943 - July 29, 2017
  • North Carolina

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"True joy comes when one can inspire, encourage, and guide someone on a path that benefits him or her." ~Zig Ziglar. Surely during his life, Gerald "Jerry" Eugene Cowan experienced this 'true joy' as he was a constant source of encouragement and guidance to others. He loved to uplift those around him, urging them to be the best that they could be.
Jerry died after fighting declining health for several months, yet he never lost his determination or strong will. His family will celebrate this great man on Wednesday, August 2 at 2 PM during a memorial service at Hinshaw United Methodist Church with Reverend Tom Jolly officiating. They will receive friends prior to the service from 12 to 2 PM and again following the service in the fellowship hall. Friends are also welcome at the home of Betty Slade, 4572 Regulator Drive in Burlington.
Jerry was born in Marion, NC to the late Bruce Owen and Elva Finch Cowan. Following graduation from Marion High School, Jerry came to Greensboro and attended Greensboro College. Within a few years, his spontaneous spirit led him to California where he began working in sales. Soon, Jerry returned to Greensboro and not only pursued more schooling, but also began to hone his skills as a pro bowler. Due to an unfortunate injury, he wasn't able to continue with professional bowling. However, with his warm personality and a gift for communicating with others, he began to further pursue his career in sales. He entered the field of insurance, never looked back, and never quit. In fact, Jerry only just officially retired on July 26 from Builder's Mutual Insurance as a Sales and Marketing Representative.
His profession allowed him to meet people all over the country. He was a constant team builder through associations and committees. Jerry would be the first person called upon when someone needed funds raised, a project completed, or an association started. He could think outside the box and wasn't afraid to try new ways of reaching a goal. He worked tirelessly for the Local, State, and National Home Builders' Association and loved traveling to their conventions. He also served on the board of directors for Foxfire Golf and Resort in Pinehurst where he spent some of his free time. Jerry's charitable spirit extended beyond his professional life; he was always helping others, or willing to simply be present when a friend was in need.
He married Elaine Prevatte in 1980. Elaine's son, Chuck, was introduced to the man who loved him as his own. Eventually they began to foster children, and even adopted three boys to become a permanent part of their family. His family remembers his love for trains and firetrucks. The story goes that Jerry wanted to be a firefighter but couldn't due to health reasons. Yet, he didn't let that stifle his passion for the job. The family fondly remembers Jerry owning several scanners, and a regular family outing just might result in a high speed following of a firetruck on its way to a scene. He loved to travel, enjoyed spicy food, and his heart was full watching his grandchildren of whom he was very proud.
This amazing husband and loving father is survived by his wife of 37 years, Elaine Prevatte Cowan of the home, sons, Charles "Chuck" Thornton and spouse Meredith of Graham, Justin and spouse Jason Bogden of Greensboro, Jesse Cowan, and Terry Cowan both of Jamestown; grandson, Colby Thornton; granddaughters, Hannah, Kennedy, and Graysen Thornton and Alexis Cowan; brother, Tom Cowan of Greensboro; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents he is preceded in death by a brother, John Edward Cowan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Kidney Foundation or to the Harmony Music School at Hinshaw Methodist Church in Greensboro. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff of Adams Farm Health and Rehabilitation Center, and the staff of the 2nd floor ICU at Moses Cone Hospital for their impeccable care during Jerry's stay. And to the many friends who offered visits, prayers, and uplifting words during Jerry's illness, the family will be forever grateful.
Online condolences may be made at Hanes-Lineberry N. Elm chapel is assisting the Cowan family.