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Thomas L. Cowley

Thomas L. Cowley

August 26, 2019

Thomas (Tom) Cowley, 79, of Eau Claire, passed away August 26, 2019 at Dove Healthcare West in Eau Claire, WI.    

Tom was born in Columbus, WI, on Jan 27, 1940, and was whisked back to the family farm near Rio, WI, by his parents, Esther (nee Amberson) and Clarence Cowley. After graduating from Rio High School, he attended and graduated from Chicago Barber College. His barbering apprenticeship brought him to Eau Claire. 

He earned his Master Barber License at CVTC and shortly after bought out his employer and ran his own White Way Barbershop for 40 years. Many of his clients became lifelong friends. 

After meeting on a blind date, his relationship with Betty (Cavanaugh) slowly developed into a lifetime of love and sharing. They married at St. Matthews Lutheran Church in Eau Claire on August 4, 1962.

As a member of the Early Risers Kiwanis since 1987, Tom was, for many years, secretary of the group and represented them on the Board of Directors of the Paul Bunyan Camp Museum.

Tom had many interests including reading, hunting, birding, watching wildlife, walking the woods, antiquing and travel/cruising. Building a cabin in a 40-acre woods after he retired afforded him and Betty many more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, especially the peace, quiet and serenity of a dead-end gravel road.

His interest in history turned into a passion for the Civil War. Joining what became the Reorganized 8th Wisconsin Volunteers (the Eagle Regiment) he was an active participant in skirmishes, reenactments and an occasional officer. After acquiring a cannon, his interest in artillery blossomed. His gun competed in many skirmishes across WI and MN and provided volleys in four 1812 Overture concerts. The cannon salute he and his friends provided was a great crowd pleaser at Eau Claire’s Memorial Day Ceremonies at Owen Park for 25 years. Over the years he and friends visited many Civil War Battlefields. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; siblings, June (Arthur) St. Peter, Virginia (John) Stockton, Janet (Russ) Akey, Richard Cowley; and nephews, Thomas and David Akey.

Those left to cherish his memory include Betty, his devoted wife of 57 years; sister-in-law, Patricia Cowley; brother-in-law, Richard (Janet) Cavanaugh; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

A Celebration of Life will be held at Chippewa Valley Cremation Services in Altoona, WI, on Saturday, September 14. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. followed by a memorial service and lunch. 

In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made to Paul Bunyan Camp Museum or your favorite charity. 

Florist Information



  • Joe Baye Mrs. Cowley,
    I am very sorry to hear of Tom's passing.In talking to Staci Roth, she told me of Tom's activities in Company C. I also was able to see your presentation as Mrs. Lincoln at Cornell a few years ago.My son and I were members of Company C for the last 12 years.
    Joe Baye

    September 12 at 6:17am

  • Ray King Tom cut my hair for many years. We always had a good visit and discussed many things Also I was always interested in his civil war escapades. I ran into Tom and his wife not too long ago and had a brief visit. My condolences to his Family.

    September 9 at 6:32am

  • Paula J (Kovar) Calkins Mrs. Cowley, I am sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. A great loss after you had so many years together. My sympathy, thoughts and prayers to you.

    August 28 at 5:57pm

  • Gary VanKauwenbergh A great guy who'll be sorely missed by a lot of people. I enjoyed many years of skirmishing with Tom and Betty.

    August 28 at 10:46AM

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