William C. (Bill) Cowan

July 6, 2022
In the words of John Gillespie Magee, Bill “slipped the surly bonds of Earth” July 6, 2022 in Surrey B.C., aged 79.
He was predeceased by his wife Halina (Janiga) and his sister Wendy Racine. He leaves his first wife Judy Gauvreau Deslauriers (Roméo) and sons Grant, Craig and Ellert, sister Patricia Badcock (Bill), brother John (Jon) and brother-in-law Paul Janiga (Claudette).
Bill began a flying career with the RCAF in 1964, joined CP Air in 1972 and retired as Captain from Air Canada in 2002. In the military he developed a taste and skill for aerobatics, flying Tutors with the predecessor team to the Snowbirds in Moose Jaw.
He founded the Canadian Reds civilian aerobatic team in Bagotville, Québec with partner Don Farion, flying the Pitts Special aircraft. Later in B.C. the team found a new sponsor and became the four-plane Ray-Ban Golds with Bill, Rod Ellis, George Kirbyson and Al Hauff, wowing airshow audiences around North America. Their signature “arrow through the heart” manoeuvre was adopted by the Snowbirds. While in Moose Jaw Bill learned to sail on Buffalo Pound, like many other famous Saskatchewan sailors. Sailing occupied every year after retirement from airshows and airlines and included destinations in Mexico, Polynesia, Hawaii, and the Canadian west coast for Bill, Halina, family and friends. His skill with a sextant rivalled his talent for electronics and made up for his cooking.
He was in demand to captain several yachts safely across the Atlantic.
Bill would not have wanted a formal service but there will be a celebration of this man’s life later.
Bill would have appreciated donations in his name made to the Canadian Red Cross or the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation in White Rock.

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