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Miles P. Cowen of Brookline died on April 6 at age 87. Mr. Cowen was hired by MIT in 1942 and retired in 1976. As superintendent of Building Services, he was responsible for managing all custodial work at the Institute, including Commencement preparation -- construction of the stage, setup and cleanup.

"Miles was probably one of the most service-oriented people that one could be. And he was a very meticulous individual," said William Dickson, retired senior vice president of MIT who was director of Physical Plant from 1968-76. "Nothing was ever too small for him to do and do right. He was one of a kind, a real gentleman."

Mr. Cowen's brother, Stuart H. Cowen, worked at MIT from 1960-87, retiring as vice president of financial operations. He died in 1994.

Mr. Cowen is survived by his wife, Alice; a nephew, Stuart Cowen; a niece, Susan Wright; and several great nieces and nephews.

A memorial service in the MIT Chapel is being planned for late June. Contact Sue Crowley at x3-3935 or Mary Harrington at x3-7393 for details.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 13, 2001.

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