Vera Barker Cowan

Vera Barker Cowan
Vera Barker Cowan

Former Southold resident Vera Barker Cowan passed away unexpectedly Jan. 4, 2017, at the age of 92.

Born June 13, 1924, in Long Beach, Calif., to John and Esther Barker, she grew up with her brother, Herbert John Barker. She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1942 and attended Long Beach Junior College. Vera worked at Douglas Aircraft, building C-47s and B-17s during the war effort while attending classes at night. She married Keith Morris Cowan, an air transport pilot in the Army Air Corps Oct. 5, 1944, at First Presbyterian Church of Long Beach.

Vera and Keith eventually moved to Maryland, where Keith earned his Doctor of Science degree at Johns Hopkins University. In their lifetime together, they lived in Connecticut, Africa, New York, Turkey and eventually retired to the San Diego, Calif., area in 1981. In July 2001 they moved to Scotts Valley, Calif., where Keith died in December of that year.

Vera is survived by her son Richard, and his wife, Micah, of Soquel, Calif., her son Jack and his partner, Belinda, of Nyack, N.Y., and her daughter, Marilyn, of Medway, Mass., as well as three grandchildren, Ian, Ben and Jenna.

Vera was gregarious, loved life and lived it to the fullest every day. She was active in many local community organizations wherever she lived, and was especially proud of her success in raising funds for Friends of the Temecula Libraries.

In her younger years, Vera played tennis and golf, and was lucky enough to have made a hole-in-one, to the chagrin of her golf-enthusiast husband. She was a world traveler and loved to entertain. Cooking, gardening and sewing were some of her favorite activities. She was a film lover and avid reader. Nothing delighted Vera more than hearing and telling jokes, and she did not shy away from bawdy humor. She maintained lifelong friendships, being a diligent correspondent.

Keith called her a “late bloomer” as she finally earned her Bachelor of Arts with honors in education from Long Island University in 1969, at the age of 45, earning her certification for teaching grades K-12.

In her later years Vera enjoyed living at Valley Heights in Watsonville, Calif., with her loving dog, Casey. There she continued making new friends, tending her plants and playing card games, Scrabble and Dominoes. She was keen on art, joined a writing group, wrote a life-history journal and regularly wrote letters to the editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Vera wanted loved ones to remember her with joy. “The Wind Beneath My Wings” was a favorite song. No sad songs for her. She lived an extraordinary life, enjoying a loving marriage and raising three children, of whom she was very proud.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local hospice.

If you would like to offer condolences to Vera’s family, share your memories and light a candle in her honor, please visit

This is a paid notice.