George Elmore Cowan

George Elmore Cowan, the beloved son of Josephine and George Cowan, passed away at the grand age of 98, on March 24, 2022. George was born and raised in Newport News, VA, and lived his entire life with his family and friends in the Tidewater area.  After his graduation from high school, he enlisted in the Navy and proudly served his country in World War II and the Korean war.

While serving in World War II as a Quarter Master Second Class aboard the USS Frost, his ship sunk 5 enemy submarines for which they received a Presidential Citation.  In the Korean War, he served on the USS Capricornus until his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1952.

After his service in the Navy, George returned to Newport News to begin a career as a Civil Servant at Fort Eustis.  There he served as a Budget Officer until his retirement in 1975.  He then continued his career as the Executive Director of the Peninsula Heart Association.
George was loved and will be remembered for his zest for life.  His favorite “haunts” were up and down Warwick Blvd.  In recent years he was regularly seen at the Crab Shack, Port Arthur, Warwick Restaurant, and Schooners.  George often said that socializing with the community of Newport News is what kept him going all these years.  He would often propose a toast with family and friends with the old sailor’s phrase “splice the mainbrace,” which means the crew on a ship would receive an extra ration of rum on special occasions such as a victory in battle.  This no doubt reflected fond memories of his Navy years.  

George was predeceased by his loving wife, Ellie Mae Cowan, and son, Timothy Neal Cowan.  He is survived by his eldest son Geoffrey L. Cowan, daughter-in-law, Cynthia C. Cowan, grandchildren, Tyler R. Cowan, Zachary L. Cowan, Sarah E. Cowan, and many other family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM on Monday, May 9, 2022, at Peninsula Funeral Home.  Following the service, there will be a social for family and friends at Schooners on Warwick Blvd. from 5:00 – 9:00 PM.  

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, VA 23601.


  1. Chaplain Marie Boyd

    You were one of a kind.. a kind soul with a infectious smile. I will forever remember your “ Bingo Games”. You always had a hug for everyone and lived live to the fullest! RIP my friend .

  2. Jim Gross

    Jeff and family, my condolences for your loss. What a life lived, however. I know from my youngest son Mike that “Old Man George” was well known up and down Warwick Blvd. I think people must have been his hobby. Take care.

  3. Breton Winters

    You are a great man, George. So glad that we spent a lot of hours together, bending the elbow. Fair winds. Condolences to your family.

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