Mar 17, 2016
USA Rice was saddened to learn of the passing of Ralph Cowan, a giant in the Louisiana and U.S. rice industries. Cowan was one of the original organizers of the Louisiana Rice Council and the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board, and served as the first president and first chairman of each organization, respectively.
Cowan was born on September 5, 1919 in Midland, Louisiana. He was married for 67 years to Katharine Jenkins Cowen who preceded him in death, and is survived by four daughters, eleven grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren.
Louisiana rice farmer Jimmy Hoppe remembered “Mr. Ralph” as “a genuine gentleman who was a real mentor to farmers in our area stressing the importance to us of involvement on the state and national levels. I can’t say enough about how much he meant to the rice industry. He was a leader with foresight who knew what needed to be done from the standpoint of producers to be effective.”
John Denison, a former USA Rice Chairman, said, “I grew up about 40 miles from Ralph and knew him all my life. He was a dear friend and we also had a working relationship dating back to our time on the Louisiana Rice Promotion Board and on the organizational committee that created what is now USA Rice. He was there at the beginning and will be remembered as a rice industry icon.”
Visitation will be held today from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Geesey-Ferguson Funeral Home, 301 North Avenue F in Crowley, LA, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 321 East 3rd Street, Crowley. A reception will start at 12:00 p.m. prior to the funeral service Friday, March 18, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, 124 W. Pine Street, Crowley.
USA Rice extends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ralph Cowan.