Verna L. Cowin Ph.D.

Verna L. Cowin
Verna L. Cowin, PhD., 81, of Butler died Thursday at her home.
She was born in Altoona on Feb. 12, 1931, the daughter of Vernice E. (Lasher) and William J. Lunglhofer. She was raised in Bethlehem, Pa., where she graduated from Bethlehem Catholic High School and Moravian College.
She was active in sports as a young woman, participating in archery tournaments at local, state, and national levels and won medals in standard round, wand and clout competitions. She was also a member of her college field hockey team.
Following her marriage to Paul F. Cowin, she moved to Battle Creek, Mich., and taught in the Penfield and Harper Creek school systems. During that time, she continued her interest in archery and was a member of the state title-winning women's team based in Jackson, Mich., but then returned to family life to raise two daughters.
The Cowin family moved to Butler in 1962 and joined St. Paul Roman Catholic Church. Verna was a troop leader for both junior and cadet troops in the Keystone Tall Tree Girl Scout Council. Eventually, she served as the Butler neighborhood chair and later held officer positions in the council. She was active in the local chapter of the American Association of University Women and the Intermediate League before entering graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh, where she enrolled in the anthropology department, completing a master's degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1985.
While a student there, she became associated with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and spent three years as a regional archaeologist through grants which she got from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. She received a similar grant to complete an archaeological survey of Pittsburgh, which eventually became her dissertation.
Dr. Cowin achieved national recognition during three major archaeological projects that she conducted in downtown Pittsburgh. Most notable was her work at PPG Place on Market Square.
The museum named her assistant curator of anthropology in 1985 and promoted her to associate curator three years later. She was named an adjunct research assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh's anthropology department after her full-time status was granted by the museum.
Upon her retirement in 2001, she was named a research associate of the museum and continued to maintain her office and laboratory space to further contribute to her profession.
Verna served terms as president of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and the Eastern States Archaeological Federation. She was a member of the Pennsylvania Preservation Board from 1993 to 1995. In 1988, she received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for her exhibit at Carnegie Museum: Pieces of the Past: Archaeology in Pittsburgh. She was listed in Who's Who of American Women in 1999. She also was named scientist of the year by her museum and honored by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation for her contributions to Pittsburgh's heritage.
Locally, the Butler branch of AAUW named her one of its women-of-the-year.
The author of numerous publications in professional journals, she also prepared a chapter on history and archaeology for "Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth," published by the Penn State University Press and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2003.
In addition to her professional activities, Verna enjoyed travel and visited all of the American states, except Hawaii, and all the Canadian provinces. She took special joy in creating and tending her kitchen window garden.
She was preceded in death by one daughter, Mary Cowin Rowe; and one brother, William J. Lunglhofer.
Surviving are her husband, Paul F. Cowin, who she married June 14, 1952; and one daughter, Teresa Cowin Muir and her husband, Dale, of Batavia, Ill.
COWIN - Friends of Verna L. Cowin, who died Thursday, Jan. 2, 2013, will be received at the Geibel Funeral Home, 201 E. Cunningham St., Butler, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Monday at 10 a.m., at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, 128 N. McKean St., Butler. Internment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Butler.
St. Paul's Catholic Women and Christian Mothers will meet at 9:35 a.m. Monday at the church to recite the Rosary.

Published in Butler Eagle from Jan. 5 to Jan. 6, 2013