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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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March 25, 2011     The Catalina Islander
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March 25, 2011
 

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-i ~ :i~ Cowell ,* From page 1 -,~ Angeles, Cowell came to Catalina in 1930 to visit an aunt and uncle and decided to stay. According to his niece, Fran Wenger, Cowell's early life was hard. After his mother died, his family seemed to break up as two of his siblings were sent into foster care. Although he was still a very young man himself, Cowell took in his youngest brother Jack (also called" Harrison) to live with him in a small apartment on the Island. "Harrison was about 14 when he came to the Island," Wenger said. "My uncle Harvey put him through high school." It was de- spite the fact that Cowell was on a tight budget himself at the time, Cowell began his Island life by working for Pard Mathewson's boatyard where he built skiff row- boats. From that jobhe moved on to his dream job at the time, as a tour bus driver for the Santa Cata- lina Island Company, He would pick up passengers from the sea- plane "airport" at Hamilton Cove and bring them to and from Ava- lon. By 1940 Cowell had married the love of his life, Frances Mack- ey, and they had their one and only child, James,,in 1944. When World War II came, Cow- ell enlisted and spent time learning to fly gliders. "The idea was we Were ~oing " to replace the first wave of glider pilots that got killed," Cowell said in a February 2009 interviewwith the Islander. "But they found otit that not as many glider pilots got killed so we were never sent into action." Cowell returned to Catalirra and worked at various.jobs including as a longshoreman for a~ ste~ship line. He ultimately Went to ~rk in his wife's father's buSitiess,-~land Pharmacy on Crescent Avenue. Frances' grandfather, :John:~(J.J.) Peckham started thelbtjsiness. He moved to Catalina in !890 and is considered an Island~oneer. It was in the pharmacy that he ran into and spoke briefly with silver screen legend Charlie Chap- lain. He also rubbed shoulders with other Hollywood actors such as Clark Gable when he worked as an extra on the film "Mutiny on the Bounty." "Having heard all of the things for which he was responsible and involved in, I found Harvey to be one of the most humble-people I ever met," Liddell said. "But he .had less reason to be humble than just about anyone I know.'" Liddll said that Cowell was quick to applaud other people's accomplishments but would wilt in the light of praise about him. "He tried to build people up, and make everyone feel they were worth something," Liddell said, adding that Cowell always tried to make time for his friends and family. "I remember going to the beach every day with his wife Frances and others, and Harvey would come down from the phar- macy on his lunch break just to make sure everyone was having a good day." Another longtime friend is Doug Bombard, who founded Catalina Express with his son Greg. "He was a very dedicated city councilman," Bombard said. "He was the kind of person that was al- ways trying to get the most out of Harvey, Page 7 CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, March 25, 2011 5