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Donna Brookes Cowan


1949 - 2019
Donna Brookes Cowan Obituary
Donna Brookes Cowan

Fernandina Beach, FL - Donna Brookes Cowan (70), of Fernandina Beach, FL, formerly of Burlington, VT and originally from Bowie, MD, died unexpectedly Sunday, May 26, at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. Born in Bowie to Eugene and Grace Cowan, Brookes graduated from Duval High School in 1967, went on to complete her Bachelor's Degree at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, VA and earned a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then became a Sociology professor at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, VA and then on to the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington, VT where she was a much beloved faculty member for 32 years. She was named Outstanding Professor of the Year and nominated for the award every subsequent year thereafter. Brookes also earned a Masters of Social Work while teaching at UVM and provided grief counseling to the bereaved of the Burlington area. She was a passionate advocate for quality end of life care and hospice and taught an original course on the Sociology of Death and Dying in hopes that graduating students would carry the hospice message back to their families and friends. Regularly she received letters and emails from former students thanking her for the impact she had made on their lives; thanking her for preparing them to help their families when they faced the death of a loved one. She was an avid tennis player with a wicked sliced backhand and played on several intra-island and inter-club teams in the greater Amelia Island, FL area, and USTA teams in Burlington, VT and Front Royal, VA. She is remembered as a bright light, kind spirit, listener, mentor, loyal friend, loving partner, a fierce competitor, and a master of the groaning pun.

She was predeceased by her parents, Eugene and Grace Cowan of Bowie, MD. She leaves behind her spouse Jaye Roseborough and her two dogs, AnjoBanjo and Buckaroo, of Fernandina Beach, FL; her daughter-in-law Lori Haller and granddaughters Olivia and Emma Haller, of Boston, MA; a brother, Edward Eugene Cowan, Jr. and nephews Seth and Adam Cowan of Frederick, MD, and beloved cousins Odie Cowan (Zara) of Centreville, MD and children Mikayla and Matthew; Mark Cowan (Sandy) of Zepp, VA and children Lee, Nick, and Daniel; Gerry Kline (Sandy) and Johnny Kirkpatrick (Susan) and many, many wonderful friends. Celebrations of her life will be held at a later date in Fernandina, FL and Burlington, VT. To honor her memory, donations may be made to the UVM Health Network Home Health & Hospice of Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties, 1110 Prim Road, Colchester, VT 05446 to which she gave freely and lovingly much of her time and dedication.

Oxley-Heard Funeral Directors
Published in The Burlington Free Press on June 4, 2019
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