100 Years Young: Cowgill reflects on a century of life

Pictured is Robert Miles Cowgill as a cadet at Texas A&M University circa 1937.

Special to the NEWS

Robert Miles Cowgill has lived quite an eventful life. He will be celebrating his 100th birthday on June 2nd, a milestone not met by many.

The Cowgill family were Quaker Dairy Farmers from Yorkshire, England who migrated to the United States of America on one of several ships provided by William Penn. The ideal weather and rich soil of the Rio Grande Valley are what drew Robert’s grandfather, Samuel Coffin Cowgill, into pioneering the land.

In 1911, Samuel Cowgill bought 400 acres of land in San Benito where he planted sugar canes and set up a sugar refinery. He went on to build three homes, two of which still exist today.

Robert Miles Cowgill was born in 1919. His childhood was an interesting one due to the mix of cultures he was exposed to. So much so that he actually learned Spanish before he did English. As a child, Cowgill learned various songs sung by ranch hands and even got to know how to cook Mexican and Cuban foods.

During his high school years, Cowgill was involved in football, the Hi-Y Club, and the Glee Club. He had a real knack for singing and continues singing to this day. When he graduated from San Benito High School in 1937 , he went on to attend Texas A&M in College Station where he studied electrical engineering and became a cadet in the university’s program.

While serving during the war efforts for World War II, Robert met his wife Mary Etta in Dade County, Florida. The two met over a piece of pecan pie, and the rest was history. They remained happily married for 55 years until Mary Etta’s passing in 1999.

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