Brigadier General Christian B. Cowdrey, USMC (Retired) thumbnail

Christian B. Cowdrey

November 1, 1949 - June 29, 2020

Brigadier General Christian B. Cowdrey, USMC (Retired), 70, of Norfolk, VA, beloved husband, father and grandfather passed away after a brave 5.5 year battle with Glioblastoma on Monday, June 29, 2020, at his home in East Beach. Born on November 1, 1949, in New London, Connecticut, to CAPT Roy B. Cowdrey, Sr., USN (retired), and Annette B. Cowdrey.  Following graduation from Arundel High School he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, then attended the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) in 1968.  Following a year at NAPS, he received a football scholarship to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was defensive captain of the varsity football team in 1972.  He also lettered in Lacrosse.  Upon graduation from the University of Maryland, he attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1974.  Christian married his college sweetheart, Donna M. Falcone, of Hyattsville, MD in 1974 and they were blessed with three beautiful children, Christian, Lauran and Lindsay.

As an infantry officer, General Cowdrey served as a rifle and mortar platoon commander in 1st and 3rd Battalions 5th Marines.  After two years as the Combat Cargo Officer on USS Ponce (LPD-15), he was assigned as Commanding Officer Charlie Company 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, including a combat deployment to Beirut, Lebanon, 1982-1984.  He served in Operation Desert Storm with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and in Mogadishu, Somalia, with the 1st Marine Division.  He attended the U.S.  Army Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship and received a Master of Military Arts and Science degree, Ft. Leavenworth, KS.  As a Colonel, he served as the Director of the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group and commanded the 7th Marine Regiment in 29 Palms, CA.  He was promoted to brigadier general in 2001.  General Cowdrey served as the Commanding General of Combined Joint/Task Force Consequence Management during Operation Enduring Freedom and Deputy Director Operations, C-3 Coalition Forces Land Component Command, Central Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  General Cowdrey went on to command the Marine Air/Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms, CA.  In his final assignment, General Cowdrey commanded the 3D Marine Division where he led the tsunami relief efforts in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 2004.

General Cowdrey retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006 and settled in Norfolk at the age of 56 with his devoted wife, Donna. He continued his career as a Vice President of ITA International for eight years and retired fully in 2014.  Together, General Cowdrey and Donna enjoyed their retirement years in the East Beach community of Norfolk, VA. In addition to spending time with family and friends, he loved spending a day at the beach, surfing, sailing, exercising, and gardening.  Christian is survived by his wife and the love of his life, Donna M. Falcone of 46 years; three children, Christian B. Cowdrey II (Lieutenant, USN 1998-2005), wife Ann; Lauran M. Morrison, husband Major Stewart A. Morrison, USANG; Lindsay M. Cole, husband Commander Cory W. Cole, USNR; three brothers, Roy B. Cowdrey, Jr., Esq., wife Dael; Charles S. Cowdrey, wife Joan; and Daniel W. Cowdrey (Captain, USMC, 1984-1996), wife Maggie; and six grandchildren, Blake C. Cole; Connor L. Morrison; Luke M. Cole; Lucy M. Morrison; Gia M. Cole; and Asha M. Cowdrey. He was preceded in death by his father, CAPT Roy B. Cowdrey, Sr., USN (retired); sister, Suzanne B. Cowdrey; nephew, Matthew B. Cowdrey; nephew Michael Sean Fischbeck and great niece Mary Marie Fischbeck.

A private Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church on Friday, July 3, at 11am, with live-streaming provided for family and friends.  Visitation will be open to family and friends on Friday, July 3, from 4pm to 6pm, at Altmeyer Funeral Home, 5033 Rouse Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23462. A private interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at later date.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Semper Fi Fund,, or The King’s Daughters East Beach Circle to benefit Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD),  or mail to The King’s Daughters Office, CHKD, 601 Children’s Lane, Norfolk, VA 23507.

Condolences may be left online at

Service Information

Visitation Information

Date: Friday, July 3, 2020

Time: 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Altmeyer Funeral Home - Southside Chapel

5033 Rouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Service Information

Date: Friday, July 3, 2020

Time: 11:00 am


Holy Trinity Catholic Church

54 W Government Ave
Norfolk, Virginia 23503

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In my opinion, there is no better facility in Virginia than Altmeyer Funeral Homes. Not only was Chris Sisler there to hold my hand every step of the way, his family members were holding the door on the day of the funeral to help and encourage me. I will never forget their grace. He led me and my family through the process as a personal friend and neighbor, and as the ultimate professional.


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