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Dwight Billings Cowan

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SHAFTSBURY -- Dwight Billings Cowan, 68, a resident of Shaftsbury, died in his home on Old Depot Road on Dec. 8, 2003.

He was born on Oct. 16, 1935 in New York City, Dwight spent the first 13 years of his life in Roslyn, N. Y. Then his parents the late Richard B. Cowan and Elizabeth (Billings) Cowan bought a farm house in Shaftsbury where they moved the family in 1948.

Dwight attended middle school in Arlington and was then accepted to Vermont Academy in Saxton’s River where he completed his high school education in 1954. From there, Dwight went to Amherst College where he met many lifelong friends and from which he graduated in 1958 with a major in American history.

After serving in the United States Army for two years, Dwight moved to New York City where, with the exception of brief stints in Colorado and Boston, he lived until 1989. He worked in a multitude of positions in the investment business, being employed by Merrill Lynch and Dean Witter as a broker. Later he went on to work for two other companies that provided computer and research services to the investment community.

In 1976 while in New York City he met his future wife Laurie K. Chisolm.

They were married in Shaftsbury in 1986 but continued to live in New York City. In 1989, after the births of their children Allison C. Cowan in 1987 and Zachary B. Cowan in 1989, they returned permanently to Shaftsbury. There they began what became Brinkerhoff Lamps and Shades, a company specializing in the design and manufacture of unique lamps and handpainted shades. They worked together every day designing, creating and selling their lamps in stores and galleries throughout the country.

Of all his professional activities, Dwight was most proud of the development of the Brinkerhoff company.

Dwight will be remembered by family and friends for many characteristics, foremost among them his wide-ranging curiosity that presented itself in a never-ending series of questions and commentary; his wit; his kindness; his nonconformity; his passion for art, investment, current events, and atheletic activity.

He is survived by his wife Laurie Chisolm; his children Allison Cowan and Zachary Cowan all of Shaftsbury; his sister Lucy C. Smith of Santa Rosa, Calif.

Memorial services will be held at the Federated Church in East Arlington on Monday, Dec. 15, 2003 at 1 p.m.

Friends may call at the Cowan residence, 1657 Old Depot Road, Shaftsbury on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.

Contributions in Dwights memory may be made to either Vermont Academy or to the Medical Humanism Fund at the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center through the office of the Mahar and Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.
Published in Bennington Banner from Dec. 10 to Dec. 11, 2003
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