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In Memory of N. Claude Cowie

George Weiss wrote a moving obituary for N. Claude Cowie, mentor and friend, in addition to being a well-known and respected member of the pulp and paper community.


June 1, 2004
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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George Weiss wrote a moving obituary for N. Claude Cowie, mentor and friend, in addition to being a well-known and respected member of the pulp and paper community.

In February 1960, N. Claude Cowie, mill manager of the Ste. Anne Paper (Abitibi) mill at Beaupr, QC, invited me for possible new employment to visit the mill. When I arrived I met a very energetic, white haired gentleman in his 50s.

After I signed on, I realized that he was a man of motion, looking ahead into the future and always searching for new ideas as well — excuses were not welcome.

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Here are some of the experiences to indicate how he was ahead of others:

Often he would consult his superintendents about new development which he had read in one of the technical journals. There was a time when the new headboxes weren’t performing properly. He recommended pulling the fourdrinier into the aisle, to pump stock around and to photograph the slice discharge. Photography showed voids at the edges.

By 1963, the Beaupr mill became, at his insistence, a quasi research mill, where an IBM 1710 computer was installed together with 72 sensors to monitor and develop control strategies for PM2. Unfortunately Abitibi Superiors canceled the project when an IBM 1800 computer was required to continue. (The competition saw these possibilities and continued for years with an 1800).

During the early 70’s, I found myself being acting mill manager during his absence. His only instruction was: “If during your watch a fatality occurs, it will be your responsibility to contact the family. Don’t pass it off to another superintendent.” Good fortune prevailed.

His vision and ethical standards had a profound affect on my life and engendered my respect.

N. Claude Cowie passed away on October 29th 2002 at the age of 95.


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