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VICTOR SPEIRS COWIE

Born: Jun 19, 1929

Date of Passing: Mar 08, 2004

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VICTOR SPEIRS COWIE "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep." Peacefully, under a luminous full moon, Victor Cowie passed away on March 8, 2004 at the Health Sciences Centre with his family at his side. Vic is lovingly remembered by Geraldine (Gerry) Cowie, his wife of 48 years; daughter Laura Fowler and cherished grand-children, Lucy Fowler and Lila Pompana; son Paul Cowie and daughter-in-law Geraycirt Oviedo; son John Cowie; brother Peter Cowie, sister-in-law Dorothy Cowie and nephews, Geoff Cowie and David Cowie; sister-in-law Elizabeth Watkins and nephews, Alex Watkins and Barry Watkins. He was predeceased by parents, Victor Isaac Cowie and Helen Cowie. Teacher, writer, actor, director, scholar, Vic brought a spark of wonderment and delight to all that he did and the many people he touched. Born in Winnipeg on June 19, 1929, Vic came to adulthood as Winnipeg was throwing off the shadow of the Second World War and beginning its cultural revival. Always inventing, imagining, doodling, he left behind an incipient career as a cartoonist to attend the University of Manitoba to study English literature. During this time he met Gerry and the two later travelled east where he undertook postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto. Hired by the University of Manitoba as an English Professor in 1956, Vic returned home to begin a love affair with teaching that lasted over 40 years. His lectures on Shakespeare and Milton were memorable experiences for a generation of Manitoba students, in which he brought to the fore his passion for both high ideals and theatrical performance. He constantly encouraged his students to aspire and achieve, and for years afterwards took great satisfaction in furthering their careers. Among his colleagues, he built and sustained many rewarding friendships. Vic led a flourishing second life in the theatre. He directed and performed with students in numerous university productions such as those put on by the Black Hole Theatre Company. When time permitted, he took on professional opportunities, making frequent appearances in venues such as Theatre 77, MTC and Rainbow Stage, as well on national CBC TV and radio drama. As a playwright/screenwriter, Vic wrote and produced a well-received film about university life, And No Birds Sing. He took special interest in childrens musicals, which seemed to offer a suitable forum for his playful enthusiasm, and with composer Victor Davies created, among others, The Magic Trumpet, subsequently performed on national television and in Toronto and New York. Recently he finished a movie script for a drama set in historic Red River. Upon retirement, Vic maintained an avid interest in the cultural life of Winnipeg. He considered himself fortunate be able to continue finding niche roles in a wide range of Canadian and United States movies produced by Manitobas burgeoning film industry. Whether playing the head of the FBI or a lunchcounter layabout, he enjoyed the camaraderie of the film set - many happy times were spent in the company of fellow cast and crew members. Quite recently he made a return to the stage, appearing in Pinterfest and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. For all his activity, Vic remained a devoted husband, father and grandfather who looked forward to spending time with his family at their cottage in Ponemah. His warmth and wisdom are dearly remembered. Sincere thanks are offered to the Palliative Care Program and to the dedicated nursing staff of Ward GH4, Health Sciences Centre, for making his brief stay as comfortable as possible. Cremation has taken place. A memorial service for Vic will be held at St. Pauls Anglican Church, 830 North Dr., on Friday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. The Rev. Canon Peter Flynn will officiate. Flowers are gratefully declined. If desired, donations may be made to the Childrens Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, 840 Sherbrook St., Winnipeg R3A 1S1, or a cultural organization of your choice. THOMSON Funeral Chapels - 669 Broadway - 783-7211

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 11, 2004

Condolences & Memories (1 entries)

  • Today I happen to read this sad news eight years after professor Cowie's death. I was his only Chinese student from Mainland of China when I studied as an MA student in the English department. He opened my eyes to the exciting world of English literature. I was totally fascinated by his lectures on Shakespeare. Since I returned to China in 1991, I have been teaching Shakespeare and other British writers. Each year I tell my students how lucky I was to have such a teacher as Professor Victor Cowie who has always been an inspiring force in my teaching career. I feel sad to realize that he can no longer know what an important role he has played in my life. - Posted by: Yi Li (former student ) on: May 16, 2012

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