Obituary for John Thomas Cowan

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John Thomas Cowan, 63, of Onalaska, WI. died Sunday, March 24, 2019 at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minn., surrounded by his loving family.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be 2 p.m., Saturday, March 30th at Onalaska United Methodist Church, 212 4th Ave. N., Onalaska, WI, with visitation beginning at noon.
John was born in Pierre, S.D. to Dr. John and Margaret Cowan. John grew up and attended school in Pierre and continued on to college at South Dakota State University in Brookings. It was at SDSU where he met the love of his life, Deborah Schumacher. They were married in Aberdeen, S.D. While living in Aberdeen, John and Deborah welcomed two children, Scott and Laura. The family moved to Bella Vista, Ark., for John’s career, before settling in Onalaska.
John’s life-long career in the dairy industry began at Schumacher Sales Company in Aberdeen, followed by more than 22 years as a Technical Specialist for Westfalia-Surge/GEA.
John was a devoted husband, proud father and doting grandfather, and he enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his family. He was a skilled craftsman with a rare understanding of machines who somehow managed to keep engines running long beyond their natural life. An active outdoorsman, John loved golfing, fishing and hunting with his son, daughter or friends by his side.
John is survived by his wife, Deborah Cowan of Onalaska, Wis.; son, Scott (Jenna) Cowan and granddaughter, Elin of Brookings, S.D.; daughter, Laura (Jason) Neville of Brookings, S.D.; sisters, Cheryl (Paul) Sherburne of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Marilee (Tony) Bedel of Storm Lake, Iowa, and Cathy (Eric) Odeen of Valley Center, Calif.; and numerous nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his father, Dr. Jack Cowan and mother, Margaret Cowan.
John’s legacy of kindness, authenticity, and love will live on with all those blessed to have known him. Information and online condolences may be given to the family at