Donald “Pete” Cowles, 85, of Glastonbury, CT passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, surrounded by family and friends. Born November 29, 1933 to James B. Jr. & Francis E. (Gaines) Cowles, Pete was a lifelong resident of Glastonbury, a town he loved and served with pride until his passing. Pete enlisted in the United States Navy in 1952 and achieved the rank of Radarman 1st Class. He served aboard the USS Hornet (CV-12) from 1953 to 1955 and aboard the USS Wasp (CV-18) from 1955 until 1957. He was honorably discharged from the United States Navy in 1961 and remained active in Navy reunions throughout his life. Pete joined the Glastonbury Fire Department in 1951. During his time in the fire service he held the ranks of Firefighter, Rescue Lieutenant (1972), Rescue Captain (1992) and Deputy Chief (1995), before his retirement in 2009. He took great pride in developing and teaching various rescue techniques as well as designing Glastonbury’s Rescue 14, a 1988 Ranger/International heavy rescue which continues to serve Company 1. Pete worked throughout his retirement to compile and document a history of the Glastonbury Fire Department from its earliest roots to the present day. He was a respected mentor and friend to many firefighters, spanning multiple generations. Pete was a lifetime member of the Naubuc Fire Department Social Club and loved serving as Club Treasurer. He was instrumental in locating and restoring Naubuc’s first new engine, a 1923 American LaFrance. Pete loved and frequently held presentations for people to view the engine and learn about its history. Pete worked for over 50 years as a plumbing and heating representative for the E.W. Leonard Co., the Northland Boiler Co., and the Plimpton & Hills Corp. He was always eager to share his vast knowledge of plumbing and heating with all who were interested. Pete was an avid golfer and enjoyed professional golf, college basketball, and the New York Yankees. Pete was predeceased by his beloved wife, Carolyn M. (Peterson), his parents, and his brother James B. Cowles III.
He is survived by his son Steven Cowles and his partner Nancy Cusson of Glastonbury, his daughter Lynn Hayes and her husband Kevin of Mahopac, NY, his sisters Elizabeth Laneri of St. Petersburg, FL, Beverly Petersen of Redding, CA, and his grandsons Paul Piacentini of Oceanside, CA, Kevin Piacentini of Glastonbury, and Nick Hayes of Mahopac, NY. In addition to his family, Pete leaves behind countless friends.
A Christian Service in celebration of Pete’s life will be held at the Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, 50 Naubuc Ave, Glastonbury, CT, on Monday, April 15, at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Green Cemetery, 99 Hubbard St., Glastonbury, CT. Calling hours will be held at the Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, 50 Naubuc Ave, Glastonbury, CT, Sunday, April 14, from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00p.m. Donations in Pete’s memory may be made to the Naubuc Fire Department, P.O. Box 632, Glastonbury, CT 06033. To extend online condolences or for further information, please visit FarleySullivan.com.