Frank Cowan

August 17, 2020


Frank Cowan, formerly Frank Potter, died August 17, 2020 in Santa Maria, CA at age 76. He lived near Santa Barbara, Ca, where he was mostly retired and a freelance photojournalist. He was preceded in death by his mother, Helen Brown Cowan and his father Frank N. Cowan. Frank is survived by his wife Becki Cowan, of Santa Maria, CA, a brother Tom Potter of Bullhead City, AZ, and two stepsisters, Joan Potter Martin and Myrna Potter Bowman (of Lake Oswego . OR). His greatest legacy is his two children, Brian Christopher Potter, of Paso Robles, CA and Erin McClure Bonilla of Suffolk, VA and his granddaughters Stephanie and Olivia Bonilla, and grandsons Nathan and Max Bonilla.

While in junior high, at age 15, Frank got his first job in broadcasting at KOWB-AM radio in Laramie. He knew early in life what he wanted to do - radio and TV broadcasting and professional photography.

Frank worked for 20 years in the radio and TV broadcasting. He worked as a disc jockey and television news anchor for Armed Forces Radio and Television while in the Air Force from 1962 to 1966, and in Worldwide News Operations for the Voice of America in Washington, DC from 1969 to 1973.

After leaving the Air Force in 1966, Frank worked in radio and television broadcasting on the central coast of California. He worked as a field reporter, bureau chief, assignment editor, news director, 16mm film photographer and videographer. He shot and edited a half dozen stories a day for KSBY-TV and KCOY-TV.

He began working for the State of California in 1981 and served as an Instructor/Course Manager for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) until 2002. Frank developed and managed a four level "Crisi Communications and the Media" training course for public information officers and others involved in crisis communications. Frank worked as a Public Information Officer in four major earthquakes, two state wide floods, a hazardous materials incident, two urban wild-land fires and a planned event.

In April 2017, the California Association of Public Information Officials inaugurated an award named after Frank to be presented to the public information officer and his or her team who demonstrated great leadership qualities and teamwork in a crisis.

In 2010, Frank was hired as a contract, freelance photojournalist for Lee Enterprises, owner of four area newspapers, fulfilling a lifelong dream to be a newspaper photographer.

In May, 2017, a photograph taken by Frank won first place in the news photo category for "Murder Aftermath," depicting the emotional impact of a murder trial in the annual California Newspaper Publishers Association statewide competition.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Leukemia Research Foundation


Services are to be announced

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