Allison S. Cowles

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COWLES, Allison S. (Age 75) Passed away peacefully April 25, 2010 at home in Spokane after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. Allison was a beloved wife, mother and lifelong volunteer leader for the advancement of higher education, community development and downhill skiing instruction and recreation on Mt. Spokane. Allison was born July 12, 1934 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Following her graduation from Westfield (NJ) High School, she enrolled in Wellesley College, graduating cum laude with a B.A. in History in 1955. She was both a Durant and Trustee Scholar at Wellesley and her academic excellence led to her election to the Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1954. Upon graduation from Wellesley, Allison pursued post-graduate studies at Harvard University, where she earned a master's degree in history in 1956 and completed course work for a Ph.D. with a focus on the history of modern Europe, Britain and comparative economic systems. In 1959, she married William H. Cowles 3rd, who would later succeed to the publishership of The Spokesman-Review newspaper, the presidency of Cowles Publishing Company and chairmanship of the American News-paper Publishers' Association. Mr. Cowles preceded his wife in death in 1992. In 1996, Allison married Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, chair emeritus of the New York Times Company. Allison served as a director on several industry, institutional and not-for-profit boards. She was a director of the Seattle First National Bank and SeaFirst Corporation from 1990 to 1997. She was a former trustee of Wellesley and of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and served on advisory and fundraising capital campaign committees for Washington State University. She held an honorary doctorate from Gonzaga University, and, she received the 1983 President's Medal from Pacific Lutheran University. She was a director of the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities from 1981 to 1990. A 10-year member of the Washington State Council for Postsecondary Education, she chaired the Council from 1976 to 1979. Since 1992, Allison had been a member of the Smithsonian Institution's National Board. In 1988-89, she chaired a number of key projects and committees relating to the Centennial of Washington statehood. A passionate and articulate advocate for arts and social services, Allison was a longtime trustee and former chair of Spokane's Family Counseling Service and the first female chair of the Spokane YMCA. She also served two terms as a trustee of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, and she founded the School Volunteer Aide Program for Spokane's School District #81. As a devoted Wellesley alumna, Allison served as a trustee of the college from 1987 to 1999, and was an overseer and active fundraiser for the Wellesley Centers for Women. Her love of skiing, fishing, sailing and hiking led to her involvement in nature conservancy causes. She was a leading advocate for the revitalization of the Mt. Spokane Ski Area and served as vice-chair of the organization devoted to its preservation and development. She once said she considered her involvement with Mt. Spokane "one of the most meaningful things": she had done. "Allison's Way," a trail in the ski area, was named in her honor. Since 1997, Allison had served as a board member of New York City's Central Park Conservancy Women's Committee. Allison is survived by her husband, Mr. Sulzberger; by a son, William Stacey Cowles, publisher of The Spokesman-Review and president of Cowles Company, Spokane; by a daughter, Elizabeth Allison Cowles, chairman of Cowles Company, Spokane; a brother, Dr. Richard Stacey, Spokane; four stepchildren, Cathy Sulzberger, Chevy Chase, MD; Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., New York, NY; Karen Sulzberger, Beverly Hills, CA; Cynthia Sulzberger, Manalapan, FL; and by 13 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 8 at 2:00pm at The Cathedral of St. John, 127 East 12th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99202. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be sent to Wellesley College (Office of Resources, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA, 02481,; Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park (29500 N. Mt. Spokane Park Dr., Mead, WA 99021); Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest and North Idaho (1117 Tieton Dr., Yakima, WA 98902,, or The New York Central Park Conservancy (14 E. 60th St, New York, NY, 10022 ; Arrangements have been entrusted to


Published in Spokesman-Review from Apr. 28 to Apr. 29, 2010
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