Coming Together. Sharing the Stories.


Marcia J. Cowles

Home: Corning, New York 
Date of Death: July 8, 2018
Age: 87
Birthplace: Caton, New York 
Birthdate: February 11, 1931
Visit Date: July 10, 2018
Service Place: Corning American Legion

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Marcia J. Cowles

Marcia Crooker Cowles, daughter of Sadie and Walter Crooker, was born on February 11, 1931 and died on July 8, 2018. She fulfilled her final wish by helping celebrate her grandson Neal’s wedding on July 7 in her backyard. She passed away from pancreatic cancer at home on Sunday July 8, surrounded by close family. She grew up with her nine brothers and sisters on the Crooker family farm in Caton, which her Lewis ancestors cleared in 1834. She graduated from Corning’s Northside High School in 1949. 

Marcia met Richard (“Dick”) Cowles on New Year’s Eve in 1949 on a blind date and they married on November 26, 1950. Their life together took them first to Koinonia Farm, “a demonstration plot for the kingdom of God”, in Americus, Georgia. They returned to Corning in 1952 and shortly thereafter bought a farm in Caton, where they lived for many years. Dick’s career as an engineer took them to Horseheads, New York, and later to Elmhurst, Illinois, in the 1960s, where Marcia worked for eighteen years at Elmhurst Hospital in the isolation unit, physical therapy department, and accounting. They moved to Connecticut in 1985 and returned to the Southern Tier after Dick retired in 1989, eventually building a home on a corner of the same Maple Hill Farm on which Marcia had been born. 

In addition to having been a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, Marcia was a wonderful cook and an artistic home-decorator and landscaper. After her health changed and she could no longer be as active, she wrote two novels¾Sugar Lane Secrets (2004) and Yo (2012)¾and numerous short stories. She made close and lasting friendships in all the places she lived, maintaining them as well as renewing friendships from high-school. She was an active member of the Caton Senior Citizens and the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Big Flats. Friends who spoke at her memorial service on July 10 described her as creative, thoughtful, gracious, warm, and elegant. 

Marcia will be missed by her husband Dick, daughter Charlotte (son-in-law Mike Belzer), son Curt (daughter-in-law Barbara); grandchildren Erin Wilson, Neal Wilson (granddaughter-in-law Lacey Wozny), Kyle Belzer (granddaughter-in-law Eva Su); step grandsons Robert (Kyle) Jackson and Michael Bernd (granddaughter-in-law Andrea), step great-grandson Caiden; brothers Richard, Carley, and Carlton Crooker; as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. She was pre-deceased by siblings Curtis, Merwin (“Pete”), Bertha (“Bunny”) Booth, Lulu Belle Wilson, Gerald, and James. Donations may be made to CareFirst Hospice, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Big Flats, or any charity of your choice.

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