Skip to main content
Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Donor Profile: Elaine and Bobby Cowley

Elaine and Bobby Cowley’s romance began in 1988 in the cool clear waters of the spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park in West Texas. Elaine moved to Midland the year before and was interested in learning how to scuba dive. She ended up getting certified in the waters of the Balmorhea pool, where Bobby was assisting the instructor. The two hit it off and ended up married four years later.

Elaine loved the state parks in West Texas, and she and Bobby also visited Texas State Parks all over the state. Over the years, they have enjoyed camping, hiking, birding, photography and geocaching in every corner of Texas.

They continued their busy work lives but promised themselves that when they retired, they would spend even more time exploring Texas, and would focus on giving back to the parks they love.

They both retired in June of 2016 and moved from Midland to just outside Luling in Central Texas. Bobby’s children and the couple’s five grandchildren are split between Houston and Austin, and they wanted to be close.

As it turns out, the house and land they chose was a stone’s throw from Palmetto State Park, which they had never visited before. Now the couple loves to walk their dogs at the park pretty much every day, and they’ve traveled with their pets to state parks all over the state, though Palmetto is their favorite. The couple has gotten very involved as volunteers, and they both joined the Friends of Palmetto State Park, where Elaine serves on the board.

“We are so happy that we can give back to Palmetto through the “Friends” group,” said Elaine. “It’s another way to pay it forward, and we’ve really enjoyed getting to know park staff better.”

Elaine and Bobby also became Texas Master Naturalists, yet another way to contribute to conserving the natural treasures of Texas. Bobby volunteers at the M.O. Neasloney Wildlife Management Area in Gonzales, where his considerable mechanical skills are put to good use.

As the couple transitioned into retirement, they also updated their estate plan. They established a donor-advised fund and stepped up their charitable donations. They researched how best to support Texas State Parks, and found Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation online, where they explored planned giving options.

“We have used these parks for our enjoyment for decades, and we feel a responsibility to pay it forward,” said Bobby. “We plan on exploring Texas State Parks for as long as we are able, and we hope they are here for future generations to enjoy.”

Elaine and Bobby encourage other Texans who love our parks to consider a planned gift to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

“If you enjoy and use our state parks, this is a way to ensure they will stay a part of Texas for all to enjoy,” said Elaine.

Find out more about how you can make a planned gift to TPWF and leave a wild legacy for Texas.