A tribute to a loving family man and respected Sensei

Bob Cowan
Bob Cowan

Tributes paid to a loving and well respected family man.

Robert Samuel Cowan (Bob) passed away, aged 58, on Sunday, July 27.

Dean Flynn and Bob Cowan

Dean Flynn and Bob Cowan

He had two strokes in two weeks and was at his home on Beecroft Way, with his wife, Brenda, and daughters, Rose, Rachel, Alex, and Charlotte, when he passed away.

The former Lealands student set up his Ju-jitsu class in 1992 at Dunstable Leisure centre and went on to teach at Hockwell Ring, Beechwood school and Lewsey Farm, where he was awarded Sports Personality Of The Year in 2013.

He took his students to four World Championships and competed himself in the Masters section in 2007 and 2010.

Rachel, 33, said: “He was a very passionate and dedicated man, who loved his family and was very proud of his students. He also began refereeing and started to teach that as well.”

Charlotte Cowan, Bob Cowan and Kevin Shaw

Charlotte Cowan, Bob Cowan and Kevin Shaw

One of Bob’s longest serving students, Dean Flynn, said: “I had the pleasure of being his student for 13 years, fought for his club and alongside him.

“For me Bob was a coach, a dear friend and a father figure. One individual, I and many, will truly miss.”

England captain, Leon Finnerty, said: “A true ambassador for the sport, a true gentleman and a good friend.”

Mrs Cowan said: “As a family we would like to thank everyone for their warm thoughts and sympathies, it is lovely to hear how much Bob meant to everyone.

“We also want to thank the staff at the Luton and Dunstable hospital on ward 17, they were great, we would like any donations people want to make to go to them.”

“He was very fit and active, he would teach his classes three nights a week and twice on a Saturday, he was very dedicated to the sport.”

All his daughters learnt Ju-jitsu and Charlotte went onto compete for England with him, his eldest granddaughter Saffron also participates in the sport.

Alex Gee, England gold medallist , said: “A great man, a proper handful to face on the mats, a nice guy off them and really supportive of everyone.”

Charlotte, 23, said: “The classes meant a lot to dad so it is important that they continue, mixed classes will be on Saturday’s from 2pm till 4pm at Dunstable Leisure Centre, after the school holidays.”

The funeral is on Thursday, August 7 at 12.15pm, at The Priory Church, students have been asked to wear their Jujitsu uniform.