The Stars Are Half As Bright – A Final Note On A Full Life

In General Mish-Mash on October 15, 2017 at 4:05 pm

At 5:10pm on Wednesday 4th October the final breath was taken by my dad, Roger Cowan. A memorial service was held outdoors at Panthers, followed by a chance to share drinks and stories in, ironically*, The Ron Mulock OAM Room at the Panthers Events Centre.

(*If you don’t understand why this is ironic I recommend you try and get hold of a copy of Jenny Bentley’s Panthers Passion & Politics – The Roger Cowan Years.)

A big thank you to everyone who came along to the service, those sent us messages of condolence and support, and those who for a fleeting moment gave a thought to Roger.

A number of people asked for a copy of my eulogy. It’s too long to publish here but you can download a copy by clicking on the link below. There is also a link to Glenn Matthews’ message for Roger from Kona, Hawaii where he was competing in the Hawaiian Ironman 2017.

Download the Eulogy for Roger Cowan delivered by Max Cowan.

Download the Glenn Matthews Message about Roger Cowan from Kona Hawaii.

Scroll down for a video of 3 of the eulogies – it runs for 32 minutes.

Other information:

The Big Panther Has Gone But Will Never Be Forgotten – from prominent hospitality mover and shaker Jenny White of White Now!

Grace Funerals Tributes Page – read how others have paid tribute to Roger; leave a tribute of your own; you can even upload photos, videos, sound bites that may add to our memories.

Roger Cowan 2016

Roger in November 2016

Roger’s Birthday – a message of gratitude.

In General Mish-Mash on November 9, 2016 at 9:22 pm

The following email was sent today – Roger’s Birthday. I thought some of it may be of interest to those friends, colleagues and contacts who were not on the send list.

Hello friends and colleagues,

Just over a year ago the Industry banded together to hold a luncheon to pay Tribute to Roger & Phyllis Cowan (Roger & Mum to me).

Every day, without exception , I reflect on that event.

I silently sigh in relief and gratitude for the generosity and fellowship our industry nurtures for communities and, through that event, gifted to us. I know the rest of my family is reflecting with me.

Today (Nov 9th) is Roger’s birthday – he turns 81.

The Melbourne Cup has just been run – it was Melbourne Cup Day 2014 when he was first struck by stroke.

So, late October into early November is a significant period – highly charged with emotions that both plumb the depths and scale the heights.

That moment when Roger was wheeled into the Bankstown Sports Ballroom and everyone stood and applauded – it still echoes, trembles and touches.

So, it seems sensible to take this moment and send you some news on how things are going. To let you know what a remarkable difference your support has made in practical terms and in terms of the spirit of our family.

Firstly, there has been little change in Roger’s condition since the event in October last year. If anything there has been a slow decline in Roger’s motor and cognitive capability. In fact, Roger’s condition since his first stroke, 2 years ago, seems to have consistently followed an unfortunately downward trend.

More positively, he appears happy and comfortable. He is well looked after by the team at the nursing home. We have the fantastic Niki – principal therapist from Southern OT – providing private therapy sessions. These sessions are invaluable to his physical, emotional and mental well-being. (If you attended the tribute function you will remember it was Niki who enabled Roger’s make an appearance.)

Occasionally, we’ll take him out for lunch with a few old friends. He enjoys the banter and a beer or two – especially when there are some good storytellers in the party.

Mum is now back living in Penrith. The move showed just how much your environment affects both health and spirit. After going through what seemed a very dark period her characteristic spirit and buoyancy returned. The irrepressible Mum is back in town!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still not easy – the challenges of being in your eighties, without your lifelong partner and fending on your own are not insignificant. But with the comfort of knowing Roger is well attended and his ongoing therapies are covered, Mum can get on enjoying the company and support of friends in familiar surroundings.

The bottom line is that without your help and support none of this would have been possible – financially or emotionally. I shudder to think what sort of state we’d be in. We were at our wit’s end when Rhonda started the process with a simple call … but from that moment we could see some light and felt comforted, safer.

Some extra news – Jennie Bentley contacted me a few months ago wanting to revisit the book she authored – Panthers, Passion and Politics: The Roger Cowan Years. We had been thinking pretty much on the same lines – it would be great to make this story more accessible. To do so means converting it to a digital format and this means some fairly substantial work.

Panthers Passion and Politics is such a good story on so many levels, I hope we are able to make it more widely available by turning it into an e-book and more accessible by refining the narrative. If you think this project warrants support contact me and I’ll let you know more about it.

This email has been sent to the people who instigated and drove the Roger & Phyllis Cowan Tribute Luncheon – Peter Turnbull (Leagues Club Association), Garrie Gibson (RSL Clubs), Chris Keeble (CMAA), Anne Fitzgerald (Clubs NSW), Bryn Miller, and the wonderful Rhonda Bowen who really lit the fuse in the first place.

I have also copied those who generously shared their experiences and perceptions of Roger and Mum – Barry Walsh, Glenn Matthews, Greg Alexander, Jackie Kelly, Renee Amor, Bryn Miller, Sue McNeill, Sandy Rosenthal, Rhonda Bowen, and Barrie Hubbard – the production companies that filmed those tributes (Casablanca Productions) and then edited and compiled them for the event (Page 2 Productions). I’ve also copied to the Men Of League.

There were many supporters, donors, & contributors – I hope you are able to pass this message on to anyone who was been part of the event or is likely to be interested.

I hope you don’t mind that I will also post online so it will be available to a wider groups of supporters, friends and contacts of Roger’s & Mum’s.

Cheers, love and hugs
Max on behalf of Roger, Mum, Stephen and Phil and the whole Cowan clan.

Roger Cowan 2016

Happy Birthday Roger

Something for the new year.

In General Mish-Mash on December 31, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Love After Love – Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott