Cowman, Donald

Donald Cowman

Donald Cowman, 81, of Galesburg, loving husband, father and Bompa, was freed from his earthly body on February 7, 2020. He ascended into the heavens and is with his Lord and loved ones, now tending to the Garden of Eden.

He was born on September 1, 1938 to Laverne and Rosemary (Johnson) Cowman. He married Joan Folkenroth McKenna on December 26, 1960 and became an instant and wonderful father to her two small children. Joan passed away January 11, 2020.

Surviving is his daughter April (Gilbert) Douglas of Burlington, Iowa, two sisters Rosalie (Marty) Holzman of Julian, California and Jane (Dennis) Larson of Knoxville; and two grandchildren Rachael Douglas of Montecito, California and Gilbert (Rachel Diercks) Douglas III of Burlington, Iowa.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his loving wife Joan Cowman, one brother Gary Cowman, and two sons Robert McKenna and Douglas Todd Cowman.

Don graduated from Knoxville High School. He had grown up in a family of farmers. He showed and judged cattle and sheep as a member of FFA. He entered the US Marines Corps in 1957 and served as a Combat Engineer. Following his services as a Marine, he married Joan and together they had a son, Douglas Todd Cowman, who passed at the age of two. They owned and operated Mr. Don’s Salon of Beauty on East Main Street and then moved the business to Dayton Street, renaming it to Mr. Don’s House of Hair Design. He made many lasting friendships with many of his clients, and up until his passing, he was often greeted as “Mr. Don”. He enjoyed refinishing antiques and did a beautiful job doing so. He and Joan sold antiques from The Antique Shack, a business out of their home in the 1970’s.

Don knew no strangers and loved to talk. He loved popcorn. He enjoyed being outside and had a beautiful yard with flower beds and hanging baskets. He had a garden with more flower beds as well as his vegetable garden. He was so proud of his giant heirloom tomatoes. He would have a plant sale when his wife had her backyard sale. Many people called him “the plant man”. He was a Master Gardener and Don’s family hopes that his gardens will be able to be remembered and maintained by the University of Illinois Extension Of Master Gardeners Program. Don loved carving wood sculptures and was so creative. He entered in a yearly contest out of the Quad Cities and won many awards and sold many of his pieces. He often gave out his small crosses to family and friends.

Don loved his dog Sophie and would lie down on the floor next to her and give her a massage every night. He will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband and care giver. As a father, seeing his beautiful blue eyes and dimple on his left cheek will be missed. The banter and conversations will always be remembered. There was just love. As Bompa, the memories include camping at Oak Run, being in the garden cutting asparagus and picking his giant tomatoes and delicious apples. His wood carving lessons, teaching them how to make paper airplanes and making them laugh with his silly jokes will always be remembered.

Don’s family would like to thank all of the staff at Seminary Manor for his care. He entered as a stranger and left as a friend. Thank you to all family members and friends who visited Don while in the hospital and Seminary Manor. Deacon Mike crummer and the OSF Hospice staff were wonderful. Thank you, Pastor Pam, for all of the visits and prayers. Thank you, Sarah Koons, for providing energy, love and support throughout this difficult journey.

Cremation has been accorded. A memorial graveside service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 13, 2020 in Maquon Cemetery. Pastor Pam Marolla will officiate. A Celebration of Don’s Life will follow at Soangetaha Country Club from Noon to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Memorial may be donated to First Lutheran Church and the Knox County Humane Society. Online condolences may be given at

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