LIFE TRIBUTE – Ernest “Ernie” Saul Cowell

Ernest “Ernie” Saul Cowell


With great sadness we announce that Ernest Cowell, of Los Angeles, CA, passed away at age 95 on July 26, 2022 after a short battle with the recurrence of lung cancer with his loving wife, Patricia by his side. He is preceded in death by his daughter.

His presence as a volunteer was huge, for veterans, youth and the LAPD. Ernest always rose to the top of whatever organization he aided.

Ernest was born in Los Angeles to Ernest and Beatrice (Waterman) Cowell. Before he was two, his father died in an unfortunate accident. His mother did not remarry until Ernest was nine. He was then raised in San Francisco.

Ernest had a long and varied military career. He joined the United States Army in 1944 with his mother’s permission. He served in the Pacific Theater with the Army Infantry as a Private First Class. He qualified as Expert with the M-1 rifle. Ernest was stationed in Japan at the end of the war with the Army of Occupation. He was honorably discharged on November 3, 1946 as part of the post-war demobilization. He then served in the Army Air Corps reserves until September 11, 1949. Following his discharge from the Army, he served in the US Navy Reserve (Active) from March 15, 1950 to October 2, 1982 and retired a Lt. Commander from the Inactive Reserve in 1984. He was on active duty during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Ernest received many medals and citations during his service to our county, including the Bronze Star with “V” two Purple Hearts, and Meritorious Service. He was also awarded medals from foreign countries, including the Korean War medal.

After World War II, Ernest attended UCLA on the GI bill, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Business in 1950 and then a Master’s Degree. He was certificated in Urban Planning. First Ernest worked for an international lighting company, then he was the principal of his own company, Lighting Designs Inc. from 1970 to 2009. Lighting Designs provided architectural lighting design for interior and landscape for residential, commercial, and institutional properties. He preferred outdoor lighting, but often received contracts to do both the outdoor and indoor lighting. He lit many homes, including work for Michael Jackson. He also lectured in architectural lighting at UCLA.

Over the years, Ernest became a vigorous supporter of veterans’ and service persons’ rights and benefits. He joined American Legion Ronald Reagan – Palisades Post 283. For over 15 years he volunteered at Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a DoD office which promotes cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. Ernest and his wife, Patricia made many ESGR Patriot Award presentations to companies. He also attended state annual conventions and briefings on veterans’ benefits. Many years, Ernie was the ESGR’s Top Volunteer.

Patricia and Ernest were also great supporters of the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation, providing youth with first hand American history experience by vising actual historical sites. He was an Officer/Executive Officer at Ronald Reagan Division – United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps (for youth 10 to 18 years old) in L. A. for over 28 years. To further honor veterans and help ensure they receive all that is due them, Ernest was an early, if not founding member of the modern Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Committee now known as the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation. He was faithful and hardworking, a strong advocate for helping maintain and improve the Los Angeles National Cemetery, bringing recognition to Veterans and the Cemetery by way of ceremonies, public relations, and its top fund raiser. He served several times as President and was the Foundation’s first President Emeritus. He established most of the contacts with speakers, musicians, singers, honor guards, food service providers, reenactors, and others used for Abraham Lincoln Remembrance Day, Memorial Day and other events the Support Foundation is part of. His philanthropic efforts also included the Sea Cadets. He served his community at large as a Los Angeles Police Department volunteer for 18 years.

They had an active life together. Travels took them to Ireland and the Mediterranean, including a trip to the Suez Canal right after it reopened. Ernest took Patricia to his former San Francisco haunts. They were constantly together in his later years, as Patricia would drive him to his various presentations and meetings (sometimes waiting in the car if the meeting was closed to outsiders). Plus, they were frequently entertaining at home. The great thing about this is that they were so compatible, they enjoyed each other’s company and were very happy together. On his balconies, Ernest maintained beautiful flower gardens including potted orchids and roses.

Ernest was beloved by his comrades in the American Legion, his co-volunteers at ESGR, at the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation, and by many others and organizations he aided over the decades. His passing leaves a hole that cannot be filled. Ernest is survived by his wife of 10½ years, Patricia, two sons in Denver and cousins in San Francisco.

Ceremonies, including full military honors, will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 18 at the Los Angeles National Cemetery, Bob Hope Chapel, at 950 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles 90049.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation, 950 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles 90049:

Services under the direction of Armstrong, Garcia and McKenzie Mortuary, Los Angeles, California.