In Memory

Robert Cowlin - Class Of 1917

Robert W. Cowlin, a leader in the field of forest science who was director of the Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station for the U.S. Forest Service for a number of years, died Tuesday, April 21, 1992, in a Portland care center.  Mr. Cowlin was 93.

After six years in the lumber industry in California,  Mr. Cowlin began a 33-year career with the U.S. Forest Service.  He was head of the division of forest economics for the Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station from 1929 until 1938.  Then he was named regional director of the forest survey department.

In 1943, Mr. Cowlin became chief of the division of forest economics.  He served in that capacity until becoming director of the forest and range experiment station in 1951.  During his years as director, he spearheaded plans that culminated in the construction of laboratories in Corvallis, Bend, Olympia, and Wenatchee, Washington.  Mr. Cowlin earned a reputation for advancing a wide variety of research programs while simultaneously winning public support for the programs.

The author of numerous publications on forestry issues, he had been a guest speaker at a number of national scientific meetings and was mentioned in "American Men of Science" and "Who's Who in the West."  Mr. Cowlin retired in 1963 but served as a consultant for a 1967 study of tree- and log-measurement systems.  He also had been involved with writing a history of the Pacific Northwest range station.

He belonged to numerous professional organizations, including the Society of American Foresters, the Forest Products Research Society, the American Society of Range Management and the American Academy of Public Administration.  Mr. Cowlin had been a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an associate of the Ecological Society of America.  He was a member of the Oregon Academy of Science.

Born March 9, 1899, in Chicago, he was raised and received his early education in California.  He earned a bachelor's degree in forestry from the University of California in 1922 and was a Bidwell Fellow in forestry at UC before completing his master's degree in forestry and economics at the university in 1928.

Mr. Cowlin is survived by his wife of 44 years, Marcile Bates Cowlin; stepdaughter, Marsha Livingstone of Portland; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

The Oregonian, April 24, 1992