Michael (Mike) Benson Cowan, 67, beloved father, partner, brother, and friend, passed away Thursday, January 31, 2013 at St. Rose Dominican Siena Hospital in Henderson, Nevada. Mike was born on April 24, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Raymond Paterson and Florence (Steagall) Cowan. Mike grew up in Pennsylvania and New York, where he attended Syracuse University and SUNY Cobelskill, where he graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture.
After college, Mike moved to New Hampshire, where he lived for 25 years. Mike had a richly diverse job history. While living in NH, Mike worked with the State of NH in the Civil Defense Office (later called Emergency Preparedness). During the great Blizzard of '78, Mike was on duty in Rye, where he helped coordinate the State's response to the storm. Mike also taught Defensive Driving and trained EMT personnel. Mike later went on to work at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where he continued his work with training emergency responders. While in NH, Mike also worked as a Realtor, then at the Seabrook Greyhound Racetrack.
Mike left New Hampshire to follow his lifelong dream of working with trains. For several years, Mike worked for Sperry Rail Service as a rail technician. Mike then went on to work at his dream job as a Conductor on the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona. He loved to walk around talking to passengers, telling everything there was to know about the train and the surrounding landscape, his excitement contagious in his sparkling eyes.
Mike later moved to Henderson, Nevada, where he continued living his passion as a volunteer at the Nevada Southern Railway in Boulder City, Nevada. Living near Las Vegas, Mike enjoyed buffets and the fountains at Bellagio. Mike loved connection with large experiences. His passions included music, especially pipe organs, mighty evergreen forests, oak trees, and animals, who he always felt deserved to have a "forever home."
A kind, funny, and well-loved man, Mike is survived by his loving daughters Melinda E. Woodard, of Renton, Washington and Meaghan F. Cowan of Madbury, New Hampshire; grandchildren Flora and Harry Woodard, and Honorah and Emery McGlone. Mike is also survived by Merilee Ellsworth, his best friend and partner of 15 years; his sisters, Sally Hallock of Mars, PA, Debra Monteverde of Pittsburgh, PA and Pamela Herdman-Bosworth of Allison Park, PA; along with nieces and nephews, and friends from all over the world.
There will be no public memorial service, but you are very welcome to visit and add to his public online memorial site at: http://mikebcowan.remembered.com. Donations may be made in Mike's name and memory to: Friends of Nevada Southern Railway, 600 Yucca Street, Boulder City, NV 89005.