Joe Wilbur Cowing, 89, of Dresden, passed away peacefully to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022 at St. Andrews/Gregory Wing in Boothbay Harbor.
He was born Dec. 18,1932, in Mount Clemens, Mich., the youngest son of Earl Bixby Cowing, of Meredith, N.H. , and Elsie Viola (Woodward) Cowing, of Dresden. He attended public schools in Roseville, MI. and graduated high school in 1950.
He went to work building car bodies at Chrysler-Plymouth for one year after graduation but wanted something more with his life. He joined the U.S. Air Force and trained as a radar operator, serving on active duty from 1951 to 1955. Following his discharge, he went on to serve until 1992 before retiring with the rank of major, serving a total of 41 years.
He received his undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University, earning a bachelor’s degree in education, followed by a master’s degree in education. He then attended Wayne State University to become a licensed social worker. Joe was a special education teacher and social worker in the suburban Detroit, East Detroit, (now East Pointe) school district from 1959 to 1999. He was a life member of the Michigan Education Association and the National Education Association. Joe was active in Indian Guides and the Boy Scouts with his four boys. He held life memberships in the American Legion, and the Masonic Lodge in Dresden where he proudly earned his 60-year pin award. His early Christian education was at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Dresden where his parents were married, and where the Woodward family has worshiped for over 200 years.
He met the love of his life Donna Mae (Leonard) Cowing in 1953 while he was stationed for active duty in Iowa. They were married at the Methodist Church in Adel, Iowa on April 5, 1957, and moved to East Detroit, Mich., where they raised a family of four boys. (A good poker hand, Joe loved to say!) Joe, as a school employee, was a lifelong summer resident of Dresden, the place where his mother was born and raised on the Woodward family farm. After he retired in 1999, he moved to Dresden full time.
He is predeceased by his parents, Earl and Elsie (Woodward) Cowing; his two brothers, Donald E. and Kendall W. Cowing; his wife, Donna Mae (Leonard) Cowing; and his youngest son, Stephen Ray Cowing Sr.
Joe is survived by son, Joe Woodward Cowing and his wife, Kelley (Byrne); son, Timothy Shawn Cowing and his wife, Kristen (Jones), of Dresden; his son, Michael Kevin Cowing and his wife, Linda Melillo, of Dresden; daughter-in-law, Norma Cowing, of East Pointe, Mich.; grandchildren, Madison (McCutcheon) Longfellow and her husband, Dr. Jacob, Joshua Cowing and his wife, Karley (McCourt), Isabella Cowing, Abigail Cowing, Elsie Cowing, Emily Cowing, Tamara (Cowing) Hill and husband, Brandon, Stephen Ray Cowing Jr. and his wife, JoJo; great-grandchildren, Lincoln Alden Longfellow, Lily and Jackson Cowing, Amiya, Jace, and Kori Hill; as well as Della Cowing, sister-in-law, and a large extended family that has summered in Dresden for several generations.
A memorial service will be held in the summer on Wednesday, July 5 at 1 p.m. at the Pine Grove Cemetery off the Blinn Hill Road in Dresden.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Pine Grove Cemetery c/o David Currier, 25 Bryant St., Portland, ME 04103.
Arrangements are entrusted with Staples Funeral Home and Cremation Care, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the Staples Funeral Home website, staplesfuneralhome.com.