Mission Committee Member

Paul Cowden

Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, at a young age I spent my time building go carts and diving into Goodwill donation boxes and removing appliances to take home to autopsy and possibly fix. In my high school years, I presented my mom with at least five “new” toasters none of which worked beyond the one-week warranty period.

After attending Kent State, first as a Pre-Med major and then as an Aerospace Engineer major with a broadcast minor, my brother Greg and I moved to St. Pete, Florida in 1972, where we built motorhomes and sailboats. I also worked 2 years as a disc jockey before getting a “real” job as a packaging machinery engineer, installing, trouble-shooting, and rebuilding shrink wrap machinery all over the country, including Los Angeles.

Back to Florida, I decided to come out as gay just shy of my 28th birthday. Soon after, my brother and I decided to move out to California and settled in SF in 1976. We opened Cowden Automotive Foreign Car Repair in 1978. Forty years later, I sold it, retired and reconnected with the true love of my life, Chuck Levine. (whom I first met back in 1978 – my first summer at the shop!)

Then we found our forever home here in Cloverdale in 2019 with a view and a workshop room for our eleven cars and motorhome and 2 sweet lab puppies. We are attracted to Good Shepherd Episcopal Church during the COVID lockdown initially by the cool old pump organ in the foyer and then by Tim and Bob’s welcoming invitation to come and experience a Sunday service when the church reopened in 2022. At our first coffee hour on the patio behind the vicarage, we were put into musical bondage by Christine Lathrop who overheard that we could carry a tune.