Richard Thomas Cowley, 88, died quietly in his home in Littleton, Sunday, September 17th, surrounded by his 7 loving children, and their extended families. Rick was born on November 17, 1928 to Mabel (Smith) and Hilton T. Cowley in Elliott, Iowa at the family farm. Rick was raised in Elliott, where he graduated from Elliott High School, and joined the Navy., in June of 1946. While at the Great Lakes Naval base, he was tested and selected for attending college in the Navy's program to generate more quality officers. He attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, from which he graduated with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in June of 1950. He entered the Navy as an Ensign, was made a cryptographer for the Admiral of the 7th Fleet, in which position he traveled the world. During the Korean War, he was assigned as a Lieutenant, on a wooden minesweeper off the coast of Korea.
While on leave, he met and married Mary Isabelle Hearn. Their long and happy marriage lasted from April 2, 1953 until her death on February 3, 2009. Together they raised 8 children.
After the Navy, Rick worked in Maryland for Westinghouse as a design engineer in the Defense Group. In 1961, Rick went to work for RCA in Burlington, MA, where he rose to Managing Engineer of Research and Development. His name is on many defense & space exploration patents. His last engineering field of endeavor prior to his retirement in 1990 from General Electric (who bought RCA in 1985), was pioneering work in engine test-systems.
Rick is survived by three sons, Benjamin J. of Sarasota, Florida, Michael P. (Cyndy) of Houston, TX, and Thomas H. (Heidi) of Ayer, four daughters, Anne L. Kelly of Cleveland, TN, Judith C. (Jim) LaRoche, Lynn J. (Phil) Warren, and Cheryl Cowley (Mark) Hollinger, all of Littleton. He was predeceased by daughter Joan Annette. He is also survived by one brother, Ronald Cowley of Oakdale, MN., 21 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Rick was a loving, intelligent, and kind-hearted man, who, along with his wife, Mary, set the standard for marriage, parenting and good community citizenship for not just their children, but for many of those who were lucky enough to know them. He will be greatly missed.
The family will receive relatives and friends at their residence at 46 Tahattawan Road, Littleton on Friday, September 22 from 1:00-8:00 pm. A private funeral service will be held at the convenience of the family
Donations in Rick's memory may be made to:
26 Princess Street
Wakefield, MA 01880