Rest in Peace Fred Cowan
The puppetry world has lost a dear family member. I have just learned Fred Cowan passed away yesterday. He was known and loved by many and will be missed. I first met Fred back in November of 2002, at the Great Lakes Regional puppetry gathering Potlatch. It was my first time there, and I was a “newbie” in the puppetry family.
At Potlatch, puppeteers are welcome to participate during potpourri event, think of it as an open-mic for puppeteers. I was a bit nervous, my hands were not steady, and Cyril had not quite developed into the character his is today. Yet I did my five minutes, by retelling an embarrassing true story. The puppeteers in the audience chuckled and applauded. I guess I was doing something right. As I left the stage and went to sit down to watch the other puppeteers, Fred came up to me to offer kind words of praise. I remember he said, “I like what you’re doing.” That simple sentence boosted my confidence and made me happy. At the time I didn’t know that Fred had been a puppeteer for many years. I also learned that designed the Chuck E. Cheese costume characters. He even performed at The White House! Wow!
Several years later I drove to his home in Indiana with members of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild for a Great Lakes Puppetry Guilds gathering. He was very kind and showed us around his workshop filled with his puppets. I was able to shoot this video of Fred performing his Dolly Parton puppet:
Sadly this was to be the last time I would see Fred in person. Fred had many friends in the puppetry world. I am happy that I can be counted as one of them.
Rest in Peace Fred.