11.6.86 to 9.25.18

Justin James Cowan, husband, son, brother and friend, passed on the evening of September 25th of a pulmonary embolism caused by a rare genetic disorder. His life was one of learning, exploration and adventure. Born and raised in Ventura, Justin developed a lifelong passion for people, knowledge, travel, and storytelling that led him across the globe.

His love for the rich cultures of the world shaped a burning desire to be a force for positive change.  This desire carried him to South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, including living in Morocco for 6 months.  Few travelled as he did with such purpose. He spent time in Ecuador and Columbia providing children with educational tools. During the fallout of the first Libyan Civil War, Justin worked to help refugees escape to the neighboring country of Tunisia. Throughout his time there, Justin used his passion and creativity to tell the stories of the people he encountered. He traveled to Mogadishu where he produced a documentary film discussing the impact of terrorism, a twenty year civil war, and extreme drought on the Somali people.

Justin advanced his passion for travel into film making.  He worked on several documentary short films, music videos, and other productions. His ability to bring together and capture talent produced works that brought insight and joy into a world that often needed it. 

Always willing to share his perspective, Justin became heavily involved in politics. He knew that through dialogue, common ground could always be found.  Passionate about democracy, he spent time volunteering on political campaigns and was a fierce advocate for everyone to participate in the political system.

Justin’s love of humanity and his affinity for experiencing all that life had to offer guided him throughout his life. For Justin, making friends was second nature. He held within himself a wealth of generosity and a genuine nature that made him magnetic to those around him. The connection forged between himself and those he encountered enabled Justin to inspire and challenge not only himself but his friends and family.  Justin lived in many different cities, and he created community everywhere he went.  He lived to bring people together.  Through mutual friends, Justin met Kim, the love of his life.  They got married in April of 2014.

Those who were blessed to call themselves his friends were offered love and belonging. There was never doubt in his commitment to those he cared for. Generously giving what he had without expectation. He was fierce in his loyalty and kind in his manner.

Justin was a selfless, generous, stubborn, genuine, brilliant, and completely loving man to all those around him. His life was rich, filled with joy and fulfillment. He sacrificed whatever he could, whenever he could. He stood up for the things he knew were right and pushed everyone around him to strive for more. His life was a testament to American values of welcoming the stranger, defending the weak and honoring those who are different from us.

Justin is survived by his wife, Kimberly Cowan, mother, Maureen O’Grady, father, Jeff Cowan, brother, Jon Bates, Grandma O’Grady, Grandma Bates, and Grandma & Grandpa Cowan. He will be missed deeply and his legacy will live on in the lives of his extended community of friends and family.