Joseph Cowen

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Joseph S. Cowen

1920-2012 SHEFFIELD - Joseph S. Cowen of Sheffield passed away Sunday, August 5, 2012 at his home in Lantana, Fla.

Joseph Steven Cowen was born to Jack and Nellie Campbell Cowen in Falls Village, Conn., on Dec 26, 1920 as the last of their six children. Jack and Nellie were the resort managers of the Pine Grove vacation village at the time. Joe was conceived as a way of recovering from Jack and Nellie's loss of their 5th child Margaret to the Influenza Pandemic of 1919.

In 1932 during the Depression, Joe returned to the Berkshires from NYC when his parents' bought the Falls Village Inn and reopened the Hotel and Restaurant. The Cowens' purchased a farm on the Sheffield Plain in Massachusetts in 1941 when Joe was 20 and he ran the farm.

In 1943, Joe married Marie Pero from Huntington, Mass and bought an adjacent farm to his parents place. In 1946 after the war Joe and Marie closed the farm and opened the Sheffield Pottery on their land where they mined the native clay from the ground and made pottery. And what pottery they made: Family Tree plates, commemorative tiles, personalized mugs and plates and much more. They built clay tennis courts and used their pug mill to produce clay in bulk for schools and other potters. They sold kilns and supplies. With hard work, artistic skills, great business instincts and a bit of luck here and there, they ran their pottery works, raised three children and lived the American dream.

Joe also started and was President of the Sheffield Businessman Association and was active in Peewee baseball and Kiwanis for many, many years. His generosity to those in need made him a very beloved man by both his family and his community.

His dear wife of 40 years Marie died in 1983 at age 63 after 10 years of cancer. Joe had moved to semi-retirement while Marie was ill and started his real estate business. Fortunately for the family Joe was able to turn the Pottery over to his son John and wife Diane who have taken the Sheffield Pottery to new heights. In 1984, Joe turned his efforts into the real estate business that would dominate his next 30 years. His buying and selling property and converting homes into apartment buildings made him well known both in Sheffield and then in Lantana, Fla., where he owned 14 rental houses and a 12 unit apartment building at his passing.

Joe is survived by his longtime companion and friend Vivian McGee and three children Pat A. Buteux of Reston, Va., Joseph Steven Cowen Jr. of San Diego, Calif., and John C. Cowen of Sheffield, Mass., five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

FUNERAL NOTICE: Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Sheffield, conducted by Rev. Bruce Teague. Burial will follow at Sheffield Center Cemetery.

The family will receive friends on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 4pm until 7pm at FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME in Great Barrington, MA 01230.

Donations may be made to the Joseph S. and Marie P. Cowen Scholarship Fund through FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Remembrances may be sent to the family through www.finnertyandstevens.com
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Aug. 10, 2012
Joseph S. Cowen
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Arrangements under the direction of:
Dorsey-E. Earl Smith Memory Gardens Funeral Home
3041 Kirk Road | Lake Worth, FL 33461 | (561) 964-3772
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