The following biography are excerpts from John's personal writings:
"I was born at the Cowdery family farm near Adrian, Missouri on February 11th, 1930 to my parents, Edward and Opal Cowdery. I had 3 older brothers, George, Caroll, and Jay Cowdery. In 1932, my Mother and all four of us boys came down with the dreadful disease diphtheria. My 2 brothers, Caroll and George were affected the most. This left them not only deaf, but with major speech impediments. Due to the health complications of my family, my Grandparents raised me. My Grandparents had no education and couldn't read or write. This may be why I started the first grade when I was four years old. In 1942 we moved to California and I met my bride, Juanita. We married in 1950 in Long Beach, CA and I raised her boys Bill and Tom. My mom and step-dad had homesteaded in Alaska in the late 1940s, so we packed our trailer and headed up the Alcan. 39 days later we made it to Anchorage with $50.00 left. We built our home on East 88th Ave and welcomed our daughter, Pamela in 1954. My brother, Jay, and I started Cowdery Brother's Excavating and Construction around 1965 after the earthquake. I was the owner for over 20 years, and also retired from COEXCO when I was 47 years old. I went to work for the Municipality of Anchorage until the 1980's. My bride, Juanita and many friends urged me to run for political office. I was elected to the House of Representatives in 1983 and 1997 through 2001, and then I was elected to the State Senate in 2001 and served till 2009."
-Writings from John
John Joe Cowdery, 83, passed away July 13th, 2013 peacefully in his sleep after a short battle with cancer. He was 83 years old. The family wishes that he be remembered as a great man who always had Alaska's best interests in his heart. He played the guitar, enjoyed flying and boating, and loved spending quality time with family. He was the best Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, and friend that anyone could ask for.
He leaves behind his bride of 62 years, Juanita; daughter, Pamela; grandson, Chuck (Stephanie) McHenry; granddaughters, Tara (John) Raven and Ashley (Paul) Hartman. Great grandchildren, Zoe, Erin, Gavin and Louie; niece, Cheryl (Edgar) Curtis; grand nephew, Gary (Mary) Curtis, and daughter-in-law, Linda (Richard) Johnson.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 20th at 10:00 a.m. at Changepoint Church. Celebration of life immediately to follow. There will be an open microphone for anyone who would like to speak. Burial will be at City Cemetery at 3:00 p.m. Arrangements by Kehls Legacy Funeral Home.
Legacy Funeral Homes & Cremation Services - Kehl's Chapel
11621 Old Seward Highway
Anchorage, AK 99515
Published in Alaska Dispatch News from July 18 to July 19, 2013