Mary was born on May 12, 1923 to Emil and Mary VandeVelde Mattan, She was born at home on the family farm northeast of Delia, Kansas where she was raised. She was the seventh of eight children.
Mary attended grade school at Adrian Public School District 65, a one-room schoolhouse two miles west of the family farm home. She was a 1941 graduate of Delia High school. In 1942 Mary moved to Topeka, Kansas and worked at Capper’s Weekly Publication in the advertising and subscription department. While in Topeka she was courted by Kenneth Vincent Cowan and they were married February 12, 1943 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Delia, Kansas.
Six days after their wedding Kenneth joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Indiantown Gap Military Reservation in Pennsylvania for training. Mary traveled by train from Topeka, Kansas to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in May 1943 to visit him. She stayed on base and in Jonestown, Pennsylvania for one month until Kenneth was sent to California for deployment to New Guinea. After which Mary returned home to stay with her parent’s and in-law’s until Kenneth returned in February 1946.
After Kenneth returned from World War II they settled in Rossville, Kansas where they lived until 1984. There they raised four children – Diana born in 1947, Vicki born in 1950, Denise born in 1956 and Mark born in 1959. In 1984 Kenneth and Mary moved to Silver Lake, Kansas. Kenneth passed away in 2003. In 2017 Mary moved to The Healthcare Resort of Topeka.
Mary was a member of the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church (Rossville) since 1947 and a former member of the church council, lay minister and lecture. She was a member of the Silver Lake Senior Citizens and a former board member. Mary was also a former member of the Silver Lake Community and XYZ clubs.
In addition to being a wife, mother and homemaker Mary provided childcare for several years. Throughout her life she enjoyed dancing, card playing, gardening, and tending her flowers. Mary was a lady and the ultimate housewife, yet she could paint, refinish, upholster, ride a horse bareback, drive a team of horses, milk cows, feed livestock and perform many a household and farm chore.
Most important to Mary was family and faith. She was a caring and loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, daughter, sister, and niece.
Survivors include her children, Diana Elevier and Denise (Tom) Denton, Silver Lake, Vicki (Michael) Wilson, Holton, and Mark (Jackie) Cowan, Kansas City, Missouri; 5 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents and husband; brothers, Remi, August, Albert and Henry Mattan; sisters, Ann Tholl, Elizabeth Tholl and Louise VanDeWoestyne; and son-in-law, Fred Elevier.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 noon on Friday, August 21, 2020 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Rossville. Interment will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, St. Marys. A public visitation will be on Thursday, August 20, 2020 from 5:00 until 7:00 P.M. with a Rosary at 7:00 at the church.
Memorial contributions may be made to Midland Hospice or St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and sent in care of Piper Funeral Home, 714 Maple Street, St. Marys, Kansas 66536. To leave online condolences go to www.piperfuneralhome.com.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions, everyone attending will need to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
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