Nature 34

Betty McCowan

September 11, 1931 ~ January 11, 2020 (age 88)


MCCOWAN, (Betty) Laura Elizabeth Moira (nee Coutts)


Peacefully, in her own bed, on Saturday January 11, 2020. Predeceased by her husband Frank McCowan (1984) and her daughter Kathleen (Bruce). Loving mother of David, Robert, Joan (Kevin). Proud and devoted Nana to Sean Michael, Nick, Katie, Ian and Brad, and Aunt and Great-Aunt to many more.  Beloved sister to George (Betty), the late Lenore (Eric), Dorothy (Philip), and Jack (Cathy).

Mom’s fierce independence and adventurous spirit were born in High Prairie Alberta and nurtured in her childhood on the prairies during the Depression.  During her high school years, the family moved to Powell River, BC, where her Dad found work.  In her early twenties, she worked in the accounting department of the local paper mill and was a member of the Old Time Square Dancing Club. It was here that she caught the eye of a handsome young electrical engineer named Frank.  As newlyweds, they moved to Vancouver in 1953.  This was followed by a brief stay in Calgary before finally settling in Ottawa where Frank pursued his career, first at General Electric, and then the National Research Council.  Mom devoted herself to raising her family of four.  As a couple, they enjoyed skiing, travelling, cottaging, square dancing, concerts at the National Arts Centre and their close-knit group of friends.  

Mom’s life was upended when Frank passed away from cancer in 1984. It didn’t take long for her to declare her intentions to move on and fulfill their retirement dream of living in the country.  She made an offer on an empty field in Dunrobin, Ontario and spent the next 30 years converting it into a blooming paradise.  Her home became a focal point for large and small family gatherings and a sacred place for grandchildren, great nieces and nephews to explore with wild abandon.  Weddings, birthdays, babies, summer camp (MiNiKaBran), Easter egg hunts with duck races, Christmases, Thanksgivings, cross country skiing, horses, horses, and more horses were all part of the spirited dynamic.  Mom still found time for downhill skiing (into her 80s), and international travel with Jack, Cathy, Dorothy and Philip to far off places like China, Russia, the Galapagos, Europe and Mexico. Her positive outlook on life, her kind words for everyone, and her “never give up” attitude will continue to inspire and guide all of those who love her and whom she leaves behind.

A very special thank you to the staff of the 2nd floor Assisted Living Unit at Stillwater Creek Retirement Home who provided the compassion and support that made the final year of Mom’s life as pleasant and dignified as could be hoped. A celebration of Mom’s life will take place in Dunrobin later in the Spring.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Condolences, tributes and donations may be made at


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Heart and Stroke Foundation
110-1525 Carling Avenue, Ottawa ON K1Z 8R9
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