We are diminished. John Cowles, Jr. 1929-2012

We were saddened to learn today that John Cowles, a talented business leader and philanthropist, passed away on March 17 at the age of 82. John was a committed advocate and businessman who dreamed of a safer world. And, through his philanthropy and successful career in journalism, he left large footprints pointing in that direction.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, John moved to Minneapolis when his father became owner of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. John began his career as a reporter for the paper, eventually working his was up to become CEO of Cowles Media in 1968, and to serve as the paper’s publisher. John was a military veteran, and served on the boards of the Associated Press and the Pulitzer Prize, and gave start-up funding to the MinnPost.com, a bold move to ensure the future of robust media in the Twin Cities.

John and his wife, Sage, have long been recognized for their generous philanthropy within their community and beyond. They have funded the creation and refurbishment of several arts centers, including the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Cowles Conservatory.

But for us, John and Sage loomed large as leading supporters of our efforts to prevent conflict and seed regional security in nations most affected by nuclear weapons. The two began supporting Ploughshares in 1988 and have since been instrumental in their advocacy for the Cowles Fund, a special Ploughshares Fund resource that provides funding for conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives. The Cowles Fund supports efforts to create a deeper understanding of the root causes of conflicts and practical ways to resolve them.

Goodbye and thank you John for all that you gave to our work and to our world. We continue to be inspired by your passion and your legacy as we continue to work for a more peaceful, nuclear weapon-free world.