Jan. 6, 1964 - June 30, 2021
Mary Joan Cowley of Spokane died June 30, 2021 after a long but courageous battle with breast cancer. Mary was the daughter of John and Sue Cowley. Born at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1964, she grew up principally in the Silver Valley of Idaho. After earning a bachelor's degree in political science and economics at Gonzaga University, Mary entered the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and served at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey and a hospice for infants with AIDS in Newark. While living there, she met Chris Coppen, whom she married in 1990. They have two amazing children, Katherine Marie Coppen Cowley of Missoula and Andrew James Coppen Cowley of Spokane. Mary earned an MSW degree at Washington University in St. Louis and enjoyed a long and vigorous career as a social worker in medical, behavioral health, and community settings. She worked at Spokane Mental Health as a Designated Crisis Responder, then became a therapist at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Center. Mary retired from the VA soon after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. While undergoing treatment, Mary passionately advocated for her own healthcare, as well as for people who had no or insufficient healthcare. Her avocations were gardening, quilting, swimming, British mysteries, and walks with good friends. She loved to cook ("and food is love," she'd say). Mary touched many clients, friends, and relatives through her caring and generous heart. Even as she readied for her death, she remained optimistic; to her family and friends, she said, "the love remains." Mary is survived by her husband and children, and her siblings Dennis, Ann, John, Trish, and Jane, and their families, as well as her Uncle Charlie, and cousins, nieces, and nephews across the country. Mary received outstanding care from the staff at Cancer Care Northwest and Hospice of Spokane. A celebration of Mary's life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, any of Mary's countless friends may consider a donation to the American Cancer Society
or the Hospice of Spokane.
Published by Spokesman-Review from Jul. 11 to Jul. 14, 2021.