EASTON, N.Y. -- Easton, New York and Albany, Georgia.
Judith Stroup Cowart, 83, of Easton Station Road, passed away on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at the home of her sons, Stephen and Todd, with her sons Stephen and Martin at her side.
Born on March 2, 1929 in Cincinnati, Ohio, she was the daughter of the late Calvin Stroup and Katherine (Fisher) Stroup McCoy. Her sons J. Martin Cowart, III, Stephen B. Cowart, and C. Todd Cowart survive her along with her nieces Jennie Poynter, Mary Logsdon, Anne Kelsey, Nancy Shoemaker, and nephew Nelson Pott, III.
Judith grew up in Wilmington, Ohio along with her best friend and sister, Mary Bell. As a child, she was mischievous and a bit of a tomboy. She loved to play cowboys and Indians; she was especially fascinated with Indians. This fascination culminated in a lifelong admiration of Native Americans. During the Depression her mother ran the most popular movie house in Wilmington. Judy got to see all the movies and knew everybody in town as the refreshment "bar" proved to be quite the reprieve from the limitations of prohibition. It's no wonder that Judy had such an appreciation for good Canadian whiskey!
She graduated from University of Cincinnati in 1952 from the nursing program. Her first job was in New York City at Columbia-Presbyterian University Hospital. She loved her time in the big city however her stay in New York was brief. Before leaving for New York, she met a handsome young Air Force Officer, Lieutenant John M. Cowart Jr. He was stationed in Wilmington prior to his deployment to Korea. With good fortune, the war ended before he arrived and he returned to Wilmington to look for Judy. She quickly returned home and the lovebirds eloped, taking her sister, Mary Bell and brother-in-law, Nelson along to witness the ceremony.
After their marriage the couple moved to Mr. Cowart's native Southwest Georgia. The move from New York City to the south was quite a shock and it took some time to adjust to the local culture. Judith raised her three boys on the Hoover Street in Albany. The friends she and her boys made on Hoover Street have lasted a lifetime. She worked as a labor and delivery nurse on the nightshift at Phoebe Putney Hospital. Everyone who grew up on Hoover still remembers how important it was NOT to wake Ms. Cowart, who slept during the day!
She loved playing bridge and spending time around a bridge table with "the girls". She was proudly a 50-year member of one of the longest running bridge clubs in Albany. The girls are still playing every other Thursday. Her boys loved it when she had bridge club because it was the only time when she would buy Coca-Cola and Russell Stover chocolates.
Her passion in life was Labor and Delivery. She loved nursing and delivering babies. Former Mayor of Albany and Obstetrician, Dr. Willie Adams describes her as "loving, witty and gregarious," he says "she was great nurse and a great warrior" for social justice. "She treated all of her patients equally, never judging them regardless of their background." Additionally, Mrs. Cowart taught practical nursing skills to students from both Darton College and Albany State College. Her students loved her and frequently told her that their time with her in the delivery room was the favorite part of their training. Her housekeeper from Hoover Street was inspired by Mrs. Cowart's passion for nursing and with her assistance she went to school and became a nurse.
She and John loved to entertain and their guests loved their parties, whether it was John's fried fish and hushpuppies served on newspaper or Judy's formal dinner where she enjoyed showing off her demitasse cup collection. Judy's pot of Beef and Vegetable soup sitting on the stove became a Christmas Eve tradition for all to stop in for a bowl and cocktail. The favorite of all was her annual Halloween Costume party. She claimed she got invitations year round with friends vying for a coveted spot on the Halloween Party Guest List. It just tickled her to no end that everybody tried so hard to get invited, because she knew everybody was going to be invited anyway!
In her last years she was challenged with dementia. She maintained a wonderful attitude and lived with her son Stephen. He says she always recognized him as someone very important in her life, even though she might be bit confused. Her mind would take her various journeys from her past. Depending on where she had recently traveled, Stephen became different characters in her life.
Often Stephen was simply Stephen, but you could never be sure if it were 10 year-old or 40 year-old Stephen. Sometimes she would mistake him for John, her husband and this was an indication that her mind was getting her ready for a party or bridge club: "John, would you run get some ice?" or "John, What are you wearing?" which was often followed with laughter.
Sometimes she would call him Daddy, thinking of her childhood days. But more often than not, her mind took her to the delivery room, and Stephen would hear "Dr. Inman, get in here now, this woman is ready." Often, catching herself in her insanity to just laugh it all off.
Despite the impairments caused by her illness, she was always thinking of her friends, her work, or her family, (especially her beloved sister Mary Bell) in a loving and generous spirit.
Services will be Sunday February 17th, at 2 PM at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Albany GA. She will be interned at private family gathering Arlington GA.
M.B. Kilmer Funeral Home
Easton, NY 518/638-8216