Family Login:

William Francis "Bill" Cowen, Jr.

Obituary for William Francis "Bill" Cowen, Jr.

June 25, 2018
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


On June 25, 2018—two days before his 87th birthday—William Francis "Bill" Cowen, Jr. returned to God and his beloved wife—after a brief illness.
Born in Lancaster, PA on June 27, 1931, William was the first-born child of William Francis Cowen, Sr. and Margaret (nee Dwyer) Cowen. He was raised in Philadelphia, and attended Staunton Military Academy in Staunton Virginia. William attended Penn State University and was graduated from The Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.

A patriot to the core, William enlisted in the United States Navy as an aviator. He was selected for the prestigious Naval Officer Candidate School; he achieved the rank of lieutenant and continued his service in the reserves.

After leaving active duty in the Navy, William joined the Bond Department of Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City. It was a banking colleague who arranged a blind date luncheon with Marie Dowd, a young Brooklynite employed by Bank of America.

That lunch was the first of many meals the couple would share together over 58 years of marriage. Bill and Marie were married on October 10, 1959. The newlyweds lived in New York until the birth of their first child. They traded city life for pastoral Bucks County PA, where they would welcome two more children, live in three homes, and become an integral part of the community they'd call home for the rest of their lives.

It was there that William became an entrepreneur. In 1968, he and his brother Tom founded Synthetic Fibers Incorporated, a manufacturing business they would run out of Newtown PA for the next 20 years. After his retirement, William served on the board of directors of Commonwealth State Bank in Newtown, PA.
William is survived by his children Margaret (John) Hickey, Alicia (Raymond) Coghlan, and William Francis Cowen, III (Rosanne). Also missing William are his beloved grandchildren Joshua (28), Daniel (23) , Bailey (15) , Mairin (12), Nina (10) , and Lanty (8) , as well as nieces, nephews, friends, neighbors, and parishioners from St. George in Titusville, NJ and St. Andrew in Newtown, PA.

William was predeceased by his parents, William and Margaret, and siblings Thomas Cowen and Margaret (Sis) Kenney.

Bill Cowen was a man of diverse interests and talents. He played lacrosse in high school in college. He enjoyed (and sometimes hated) the game of golf. He loved woodworking; his talent lives on in the exquisite pieces of furniture that grace the homes of family members. Bill had an extraordinary penchant for ironing, and could have out-pressed Martha Stewart or the local dry cleaner. For years, he cared for the altar linens at St. George Church, and his children took full advantage of his requests for pressing gigs.

Bill loved Scotch but not fine Scotch. At 5 pm, he'd have a glass of "green wine" in his hand. He was a man of charm and humor, and prided himself on an ability to "keep the ball in the air" at any gathering.

Above all, Bill was a proud and protective patriarch who treasured his family above all else.

We fondly remember a man of grace and faith—a true gentleman who valued discipline, routine and punctuality.

It's safe to say that Bill Cowen was never late for an event or an activity in his life. He was more than prompt—he was always early. We agree that his departure from this world followed suit—way too soon.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Bill's life on Monday, July 9. 2018 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at St. Andrew Catholic Church. 81 Swamp Road Newtown, PA, 18940. This will be immediately followed by his Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am. Interment will be held at Washington Crossing National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a cause that Bill believed in.

Family services are entrusted under the care of Swartz-Givnish of Newtown, 215-968-3891, to share a thought or a memory of William, please visit

Recommended Local Florist

Suggested Memorial Donations

Arrangements By

Swartz-Givnish Funeral Home, Inc.

323 East Washington Avenue
Newtown, PA 18940
Map  | Profile

View Phone Number