Jim Cowles
1952 - 2021
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Jim Cowles

James G. "Jimmy" Cowles, 68, Suamico, passed away at home surrounded by family on January 4, 2021, following a six month journey with glioblastoma. The son of the late Robert L. and Margaret (Lindstrom) Cowles Jr. was born on July 15, 1952 in Green Bay.

Jim was the middle of the three Cowles boys, and attended grade schools in Allouez. He graduated high school from Wayland Academy, followed by a Bachelor's Degree at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. In college, he was a founding member of the Mutated Members Trivia Team for the annual 54-hour, World's Largest Trivia Contest. The first years of participation were held at Jim's apartment, and their team continues the tradition to compete each year in Stevens Point.

Post-graduation, he traveled the country looking for Shelby Mustang parts, during these years he met some of his oldest and dearest friends, who became family. In 1977 he founded the Northwoods Shelby Club in Northeast Wisconsin with several of his Shelby friends. In 1978 he founded Shelby Parts & Restoration. After forty three years of operating his business, he was known worldwide for his skills in restoring cars and ability to acquire hard to get, original parts.

On July 13, 1995, Jim welcomed his daughter Emily LaViolette Cowles. Not many fathers take their daughter to school in a Cobra LeMans race car. He raised her to have an affinity for Door County sunsets, dogs, beautiful cars, and the Green Bay Packers.

In 1996, Jim became one of the founders of the Shelby American Collection Museum in Boulder, CO. He was instrumental in building the museum's memorabilia collection, and continuously supported the museum in procurement and fundraising capacities. Today, you can still 'visit' the historic Cobra Jim owned, model CSX2138.

On September 15, 2001, he married the love of his life, Sharon Buenger. They spent nineteen years of building wonderful memories, a home, and a life together. Their favorite place to be was on the beach with friends in Marco Island, FL or at the cottage in Door County, WI.

In 2016, Jim was appointed to be a judge for the Shelby American Collection, and SAAC Councours Chairman, travelling the country to inspect and judge with his decades-long authority on all things Shelby. He also followed his father's footsteps with a love for Road America in Elkhart Lake. He will continue to be a legend and a giant in the Cobra and Shelby world, as he was a mentor to many around the nation who will carry his legacy forward.

Jim had a wicked sense of humor and he could command a room with his wit. Despite his gentle demeanor and kind heart, many friend's kids endearingly called him, 'Mean Jim'. He was also a dedicated Jeopardy fan, when you had a trivia question, he was your guy. For sport, he enjoyed barefoot golfing and fishing at the Alpine resort - he even had his captains license to earn money taking people on a charter in his teens. Jim was dedicated to carrying on his dad and grandfather's legacy of wearing 'loud' clothing to events, no pants were too obnoxious!

With all of this, his main priority in life was taking care of 'his girls', which he did better than anyone could.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon; daughter, Emily; step-children, Jonathan and Katherine Laes; brothers, Sen. Robert L. Cowles and David F. (Lisa) Cowles; nieces, nephews, other extended members.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Margaret; good friend John McCoy Jr.

Family and friends may visit at Green Bay Community Church, 600 Cardinal Lane, Green Bay, beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, January 15, 2021. Social distancing, masks and temperature checks will be required. Please use the chapel entrance. A service will take place at 6:00 p.m. A virtual live stream will be available at https://livestream.com/gbcommunitychurch/cowles

The family would like to thank the Nurse Navigator Program at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic, specifically Lindley Mauer, as well as the doctors and nurses involved in his care, including: hospice caretaker, Holly Runquist, Hospice Nurse, Jessica Anthes; Hospice Physical Therapist, Sheona Carne; Team Assistant, Tina Kinjerski; and CNA, Mary Escota-Rolefon. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation at P.O. Box 5010, Elm Grove, WI 53122 or www.lombardifoundation.org.

Ryan Funeral Home, De Pere is assisting the Cowles family. Please visit www.ryanfh.com to extend online condolences.




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Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2021.
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January 15, 2021
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January 15, 2021
My condolences to the Cowles family. Jim was my "roomy" at UWSP my freshman year. Lots of great memories. I remember him showing up in his old Plymouth with a 19 inch color tv. After moving away from the Green Bay area in the early 80's I stopped by his shop about 3 years ago and was able to have a few laughs about how time has just flown by.
Ron Larsen
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January 14, 2021
He was a great man and I had great respect for him
Wolfy
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January 14, 2021
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Jim and Sue Cruden
January 13, 2021
My deepest sympathy of Jim Cowles' passing. His mother, Margaret, was my 1st cousin. Her father and my grandfather were brothers. I had the privilege of meeting her and on several occasions I have met Robert.
Again my sympathy to the entire Cowles family.
Janet Kersten (Lindstrom)
January 12, 2021
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January 11, 2021
Cowles family im very sorry to hear about Jim I am his Fedex driver for the last 10 yrs Will miss him dearly with his humor and wit when i stopped at the shop.
Jim Larscheid
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January 11, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Mary Harris-Manske
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January 11, 2021
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January 11, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
Barbara Hilgenberg
January 11, 2021
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