OLD SAYBROOK, CT – Terry Louise Cowles, 90, died January 6, 2018. She lived at the Saye Brooke Village apartments for 12 years.
She previously lived at Jensen’s New England Village in Westbrook for 16 years.
She was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, NY, the younger of two children of the late George Pierce Cowles, and Marjorie Sherman (Manning) Cowles.
Remarkably, she was one of the youngest premature babies to survive, born at 5 months gestation and weighing a mere 1lb., 8oz. She was placed in one of the first pediatric incubators on public display at the Luna Park Infant Incubator Exhibit at Coney Island, NY.
Her name “Terry” reflects her paternal lineage of Connecticut Clockmakers, Samuel Terry and his brother Eli Terry, deemed Pioneers of the American Clock Industry. Furthermore, Terry’s father, George Cowles, is acclaimed as the inventor of the first modern American electric alarm clock, when during the 1930’s, he patented the Electro-Unitary Alarm System.
She grew up in Waterbury, CT. In the 1930’s, her family moved to Framingham, where she was graduated from Framingham High School (1945).
She earned an associate degree at Dean Junior College in Franklin, MA (1947). She attended Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in Boston, MA (1948), and later took Christian religion and education courses at Earlham College, Richmond, IN (1959-1961).
Her early career was in public relations. She was a cub reporter (Framingham Daily News), a newspaper columnist (Woonsocket Call), a script writer (WAAB radio, Worcester, MA; WTVL-TV, Waterville, ME), and editorial secretary at the New Yorker Magazine, NYC (for Harold Ross from 1950-1952).
In other employment, Terry performed secretarial office work as a receptionist, typist, switchboard operator, office coordinator.
Her primary career was as Parish Secretary for Trinity Church on-the-Green in New Haven, during the ministry of The Reverend Dr. C. Lawson Willard. From 1953-1967 she was active with public contact, fund raising, Christian education, and volunteer work, among other duties. She loved to reminisce about her 14 years of service at Trinity.
She held various other jobs in New Haven before returning to Framingham, MA, in 1979, to support her aging mother.
In 1990, she re-located to Westbrook, CT, and worked part-time within the CT Shoreline area, including 2 years at the Oxford Academy, Westbrook, as dining room hostess. She was a member of the Westbrook Elks no. 1784 (2006-2009).
In her leisure time, when not pampering her former twin Siamese/tiger mix cats, Princess and Sapphire, she enjoyed travelling with friends, both domestically and abroad, and visiting her sister Jane’s family.
She had a wonderfully creative mind and was greatly admired as an accomplished amateur poet.
To hone her writing skills, she would attend poetry workshops held at the Cape Cod Writer’s Center Conference, MA (Cape Cod). She has won various awards and grants. Some of her collected poems were printed in the former newspaper, Poet’s corner (Pictorial Gazette).
Her favorite hobbies included stamping, stenciling, and making greeting cards. Her “Token Gifts by Terri” were sold at local church and craft fairs. She always loved living by the shore and would drive coastal roads to catch views of the marshes and sea birds. Among her favorite eating places were Dock and Dine Restaurant, Lenny and Joe’s, the Westbrook Lobster, and the Parthenon Diner, Old Saybrook. She had a witty sense of humor and often entertained people with colorful stories about her life’s adventures. She will be missed by many.
She is survived by the six children and their respective families, of her late sister, Jane Sherman (Cowles) Parmenter. They are: Priscilla Parmenter (Wilmot, NH), Marjorie Parmenter (East Falmouth, MA), Vernon Parmenter (Santa Ynez, CA), Nancy DeMore (Douglas, MA), Susan Parmenter (Sunapee, NH), and Linda Parmenter (Hubbardston, MA). Terry is also survived by the children of her late first cousin Barbara Reid Evans. They are: Lawrence Reid and family (Baxter, TN), and Gwendolyn Reid Johnson and family (Harwich, MA). Terry is also survived by her many loving grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces, and great-grandnephews.
A Memorial Service will be held June 10 2018 at the First Church of Christ in Saybrook (Congregational).
Swan Funeral Home, Old Saybrook is in charge of arrangements for the family.
In memory of Terry Cowles, charitable donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital .