Frances Eliza Severson Cowan

Frances Eliza Severson Cowan

ALTAMONT — Once the head teller in Altamont’s bank, Frances Eliza Severson Cowan was devoted to her family and loved the “piece of heaven” where she lived.

She died on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. She was 91.

Mrs. Cowan, known to her friends and family as Fran, was born on July 28, 1922 on Maple Avenue in Altamont, the only child of Millard H. Severson and Fanny Taylor Weaver.

She graduated from Altamont High School and Mildred Elley School, receiving a secretarial diploma in 1941. For several years, she enjoyed her work at National Commercial Bank in Altamont as head teller.

“Throughout the war, Fran kept in close contact with David F. Cowan,” her family wrote in a tribute.  “They were married on July 6, 1946 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Altamont. Dave loved teasing Fran and would tell people, ‘We are going to try this for a year.’ It was a beautiful marriage that lasted 62 years, until Dave’s passing.”

The Cowan family moved “up on the Altamont Hill” in 1964. Mrs. Cowan enjoyed hosting several Republican teas as well as lobster and clambakes.

“Summers were spent in Ogunquit, Maine where you could find Fran ‘at her office,’ the Ogunquit Beach,” her family wrote. There she enjoyed the company of great friends and her family. Later years were spent on Hutchinson Island Fort Pierce, Fla., again near the ocean that she loved so much.

Returning to Altamont in her 80s, Mrs. Cowan stayed with her daughter Lisa, enjoying the family homestead, which she referred to as “a piece of heaven.”

She is survived by her children Gail Cowan Wariner and her husband, William, of Park City, Utah; David E. Cowan and his wife, Cathy, of Altamont; Marcy Clark and her husband, Paul, of Brunswick, Maine; and Lisa H. Cowan of Altamont.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, Aaron Jensen of Taiwan; Leslie Hersh and her husband, Justin, of New Hampshire; David Jensen and his wife, Stephanie, of Utah; Zachary, Christopher, and Matthew Cowan of Altamont; Lindsay Clark of Utah; Paul Clark of Maine; Whitney Clark of Utah and  Lauren Canetto of Altamont and Seth Canetto of Maryland.

She is survived, too, by her great grandchildren, Georgia and Faith Hersh, and Sasha and Lyla Jensen.

A celebration of her life will be in the springtime. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Online condolences may be made at

The family extends “a heartfelt thank-you to the doctors and nurses, and pastoral care on C4 at Albany Medical Center.”

Memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, Post Office Box 770, Altamont, NY 12009.

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