Mary E. Cowley

Wed, 04/07/2021 - 12:00pm

Mary E. Cowley, 84, of Wakefield, Rhode Island passed away peacefully on the morning of April 6, 2021 with her family at her side. After a sudden decline, and always a woman of remarkable strength and determination, Mary refused to ‘move on’ until both of her children were able to join her at her bedside.

Mary was predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Lt. Cmdr. Roger E. Cowley (U.S.C.G.). Originally from Wiscasset, Maine, Roger was her high school sweetheart.

Mary was instrumental in raising her two daughters and maintaining the Cowley household, while Roger served his country on sea duty from New England to Iceland. Along with her dedication to family, Mary was an innovator in physical fitness in the mid-1970s, as she and some life-long friends established a non-profit organization called Think Fitness, which provided physical fitness training and conditioning for school children, community members, including senior citizens that resided in communities along the north shore of Massachusetts. These women were true innovators in recreational fitness, long before fitness became essential to most Americans.

As her two daughters, Heather Gordon (Wakefield, R.I) and Roxanne Barnett (of Chester, N.H.), married and started families of their own, Mary took great delight in spending as much time as she could with her four grandchildren. Her family and friends were always am.azed at her patience and devotion to her grandchildren. She truly joined the ranks of fantastic matriarchs; whose nurturing and sense of humor was always on display. Wonderful summer days would be spent with Mary and the entire family exploring for sea glass along the tidal pools of Fort Foster and Whaleback Light in Kittery, Maine.

Mary was an avid athlete during her life. Tennis was her personal game of choice as she played competitively in ladies and mixed tournaments; but she was equally adept at badminton, basketball and supported any other sport that her grandchildren might be involved in. She was a wildly devoted fan of the Boston Celtics, always wearing her beloved Celtics Green, as well as being an ever-present fan of her grandchildren while they participated in equestrian events, gymnastics, scouting, and competitive cycling. In her later years, Mary enjoyed her gardens, and devoted time to her adult daughters in “Girls-only Expeditions” to gardens in the U.S. and Canada, as well as annual retreats in the White Mountains. In her spare time, Mary devoted time to reading her favorite Maine author, Stephen King. Mary enjoyed birding and her many feeders that were strategically placed about the yard. She always described the antics of her favorite blue jays and robins. As a champion of animals, Mary always adopted strays along the way.

Finally, Mary was always supportive of everything “Maine.” She will be greatly missed, especially by Jessica, Bronwyn, Kevin, and Ian and her four great-grandchildren.

A graveside service will be held by family later this summer in Wiscasset. Mary was always a fan of Dr. Suess in his writings when he noted: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." (Theodor Seuss Geisel).

In lieu of flowers, Mary’s wished were to encourage contributions to the A.S.P.C.A. For guestbook and condolences please visit,