Cover photo for John Sterling Cowan's Obituary
John Sterling Cowan Profile Photo
1937 John 2019

John Sterling Cowan

March 7, 1937 — March 11, 2019

John S. Cowan of Kalispell and Polson passed on March 11, 2019. John was born in Bellefonte, PA on March 7, 1937 to John D. Cowan and Elizabeth Fowler Cowan. The family soon moved to Charleston, SC and subsequently in 1949 to Stamford, CT. He attended the Hotchkiss School where he met lifelong friend and Polson resident Chuck Jarecki. A graduate of Middlebury College, John received an MS in Accounting from the University of Wyoming.

John owned and served as CEO and Chief Fiscal Officer of two post-secondary and proprietary schools: Wyoming Technical Institute (1970 – 1977) and Bryman School (1977-1996). For twenty years, John consulted as a CPA Auditor for Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs at Post-secondary Educational Institutions. Of particular note, he consulted to the US Department of Justice and was admitted as an expert witness for the prosecution of educational institutions for misuse of student assistance funds.

Upon moving to Polson, John continued his consulting practice in the areas of education, new business development, accounting and the administration of non-profit organization. He advised the work of the Joint Review Committee on Educational Programs in Nuclear Medicine Technology by designing an accounting system to comply with standards and updating student assistance Title IV regulations.

John derived enormous satisfaction from his contributions as a Founder and Board Member of the Greater Polson Community Foundation. In his capacity as Treasurer, John worked to implement procedures that ensured the safe and prudent investment of Foundation Funds.

His family and beloved friend Suzanne Booker will miss John’s steady, caring and protective presence. His quiet, self-effacing generosity defined his life. Many experienced him as a man of few words. But those fortunate enough to be the recipients of those words considered them pearls and remain forever grateful. He passed in peace, confident in God’s grace.

John Cowan is survived by three children John G. Cowan, Wayne Cowan and Wendy Windham, sister Kay Cowan, grandchildren Cameron, Chante, Allison, Stephanie and Michael Cowan and great-grandchild Nolan Lloyd. His wife Elaine Cuklanz Cowan predeceased him in 2009.

Family and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service on Saturday March 23rd at 1:30 PM at Buffalo Terrace Chapel, 40 Claremont St, Kalispell, Mt 59901.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Greater Polson Community Foundation PO Box 314 Polson, Montana 59860.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Sterling Cowan, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Starts at 1:30 pm (Mountain time)

Buffalo Hill Terrace

, Kalispell, MT 59901

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