Cover photo for Walter Odell Cowan, Sr.'s Obituary
Walter Odell Cowan, Sr. Profile Photo
1934 Walter 2020

Walter Odell Cowan, Sr.

October 23, 1934 — August 11, 2020


Our beloved husband, father and grandfather was born in Bristol, Va. on October 23, 1934, the second son of Richard and Katherine Cowan.  He became a member of Lee Street Baptist Church in June of 1942. 

He attended Douglass High School where he became a student athlete graduating in June, 1953.  He attended Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va. graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1958.  In 2015 he was inducted into the VUU Athletic Hall of Fame. 

He became employed immediately at the Medical College of Va. as a cancer research technician.  He moved to Detroit, Mich. in 1963 where he began teaching Science and Biology in the Detroit Public Schools.  He completed two graduate degrees at Wayne State University in 1970 and 1974.  He also taught Biology, Bacteriology, Physiology-Anatomy and Ecology at Highland Park College and Wayne County Community College.  In 1994 he completed his professional career with Wayne County Community College and the Detroit Board of Education as the Supervisor of Secondary Science. 

For over 24 years, Walter was a member of the Brazeal Dennard Chorale of Detroit, a Chorale dedicated to performance and enrichment of the Detroit community.  The Chorale was committed to the resurrection and preservation of the Negro Spiritual as well as performing the classics of Bach, Mozart, Dett and Hailstork.  Music enhanced every area of his life. 

Walter is survived by his dedicated wife Jan E. Cowan; children:  Katherine L. Cowan, Warren O. Cowan (wife Lynda), step-son Matthew Bazner.  Son Walter O. Cowan, Jr (wife Bridget) are both deceased. Grandchildren: Kathleen Jackson, Danielle Cowan, Dana Smith; Great- grandchildren Caleb and Ava. Nieces: Patricia Seaton, Rosalind Lee, Tiffani Cowan, Maria Clary, Krystal Cowan and Kellee Edge; Great-niece Brooklyn Cowan. 

A graveside service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 17, 2020, at Forest Hills Memory Gardens in Abingdon, Va. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Kidney Foundation, online at 

Farris Funeral Service and Crematory is serving the family of Walter Odell Cowan, Sr.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Walter Odell Cowan, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, August 17, 2020

Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)

Forest Hills Memory Gardens

19415 Lee Hwy, Abingdon, VA 24210

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