Obituary of Earl William Cowell, Jr.
Earl William Cowell Jr. passed away at home with his wife Julia and family in Santa Cruz, California on August 8, 2023 at the age of 84. He was born on May 30, 1939 in Red Bud, Illinois and grew up in Chester, Illinois. His parents were Earl William Cowell Sr. and Mariann Immogene Cowell (nee Geppert). He served in the United States Army after graduation from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received a Masters degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Kinesiology. His children are Bill and wife Katy, Elizabeth and husband Garry, and Suzannah and partner Adam. His grandchildren are Emily, Hayden, Gabriel, and Delphine. Earl’s beloved siblings, Virginia, Kathy, Sheila, and David are all in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Earl’s extended in-law family in Ohio was important to him as were many nieces and nephews on both sides of the family. Beloved family members preceding Earl in death were his parents, stepmother Alberta, sister Jeanine, and brother Jim.
Earl’s professional career was in Human Resources Leadership, mentoring, and consulting for organizations and individuals in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Oregon, and California. He was a consummate community volunteer that included coaching youth sports in Hinsdale, Illinois, the Morton Arboretum in the Chicago Area, and food pantries. In California he was a docent at Henry Cowell Redwood Forest and board member at Senior Legal Services of Santa Cruz County. As a member of the Big Ride, Earl biked from Seattle, Washington to Washington DC in 1998 raising funds for the American Lung Association. Especially important to him was his time as an assistant coach for the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Basketball Team.
His love of basketball was lifelong. It included playing with his high school team in Chester, Illinois, Xavier University, and teams throughout his life including the Windy City Seniors, Branciforte Geezers of Santa Cruz, Redwood City Kal Kats, and the USA 80+ Warriors team. Winning the Gold Medal with the USA Warriors at the FIMBA World Tournament in Helsinki, Finland in 2019 was one of the most satisfying victories. His USA FIMBA teammates have him on the roster as an honorary member of the team at the 2023 FIMBA World Tournament in Argentina. Earl was also an avid tennis player. The relationships he developed on basketball and tennis courts were his true joy. It has been said that it was more fun to play with him than against him.
Earl was a gregarious, fun loving, humorous, and generous person. He loved his family deeply and was a loyal friend and neighbor. He was dedicated to health and fitness and was often seen riding his bike around Santa Cruz in his yellow fleece.
A Celebration of Life will be held September 3 in Santa Cruz, CA. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org by August 25 for details. Those wishing to remember Earl may make contributions in his honor to Hospice of Santa Cruz County (https://www.hospicesantacruz.org/) and/or to Senior Legal Services of Santa Cruz County (https://seniorlegal.org/).