Obituaries detail

Mary A. McGowan

July 26, 2022

 

Mary Albert McGowan, 91, of Prairie Village, KS, passed away peacefully the morning of July 26th.

 

She is survived by her three children; son William (Joby) of Prairie Village, KS; daughters Amy of Kansas City, Mo and Catherine (Ray) of Nashville, TN; grandsons Andrew (Wei Yan) of Lafayette, CA and Thomas (Caylin) of Roeland Park, KS and her brother, John Albert (Veronica) of Ridgeley, WV.  Mary is preceded in death by her husband, Robert “Bob” McGowan; her parents, William and Anita Albert and her brothers, William and Thomas Albert.

 

Mary grew up on the Mississippi River in Lansing, Iowa where she graduated from Immaculate Conception High School.  She attended the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota and upon graduating in 1952 with a B.A. in Social Science, embarked on what would become a career dedicated to the service of others.  

For two years she worked for the American Red Cross providing recreational therapy to wounded soldiers at military hospitals.  Mary was stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas when she met and fell in love with a Corporal in the Army Medical Corps - Bob McGowan.  Mary took a job as a caseworker for Catholic Social Services in La Crosse, Wisconsin while Bob completed college.  They married in June of 1956 and settled in Kansas City to raise their family.

 

While the kids were still in grade school, she made the decision to go back to school herself.  In 1970 she obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas.  Mary was drawn, both in her training and her eventual employment, to the public school system.  She was hired by the Shawnee Mission Unified School district in 1972 as a school social worker.  During her 22 years with the district, Mary established a reputation for her ability to communicate with compassion and clear understanding to parents and students alike and was known for her adept counseling skills. She served as Director of the Special Services Counseling Clinic, coordinator of district social workers and Early Childhood Special Education Facilitator.  Mary was a leader among her peers and an influential mentor to fellow social workers, many of whom remained lifelong friends.  She was a charter member of the Kansas Association of School Social Workers, serving terms as president and vice president.  In 1989, Mary was named Kansas School Social Worker of the year in recognition of her commitment to the profession.  She respected and enjoyed the opportunity to make an impact on students and their families in what she described as “a hopeful job.”

 

Mary served on a number of boards and task forces, with an emphasis on mental health, all aimed at bettering the community she lived in.  In 1975, she was appointed to the Johnson County Human Relations Commission and served for three years.  Mary served on the Johnson County Commission on Aging from 2002 to 2010.

 

After her retirement, Mary put her experience to work in other areas of social work.  She provided therapeutic counseling to seniors.  At Shawnee Mission Medical center, she assisted with social work services for hospitalized patients.  

 

Before embarking on her professional career, Mary found camaraderie and friendship with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), where she was an active, lifelong member.  She remained loyal to her college alma mater and regularly attended Saint Teresa reunions.

 

Mary was known for her stellar sense of humor, distinctive laugh and love of a good (or bad) pun. She was an avid bridge player and enjoyed word games. Gardening was a passion for her and every season brought new plans and plants to her gardens.  Mary loved dogs.  Beginning with her beloved Rex and ending with Zeke, she had a life full of canine affection.

 

Nothing was more important to Mary than her family.  She and Bob spent nearly 66 years together – raising three children, sharing their love of good food, dancing, going to movies and social events, being engaged in their many communities, watching their grandsons grow into fine men, and traveling all over the U.S. and internationally.  She especially treasured annual reunions with her brothers and spending time at the family’s rock house on the Mississippi river.  Mary believed in passing on the values she learned from her parents and taught tolerance, honesty and respect for others.

 

The family sends a special thank you to the kind and compassionate staff at Santa Marta Assisted Living who have taken such good care of both of our parents for the last three years. 

Visitation will be at 2 pm on Friday, August 5th, with Catholic Mass at 3 pm in the Chapel at St Ann Catholic Church, 7231 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS.

 

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mary’s name to Doctors Without Borders or Wayside Waifs.



Additional Service:
Visitation
Location:
St Ann’s Catholic Church
Address:
7231 Mission Rd
City:
Prairie Village
State:
Kansas
Zip Code:
66208
Date of Service:
Aug 05 ,2022
Time of Service:
2:00 pm
Additional Information:
No Additional Information Added
Google Map:
Additional Service:
Memorial Mass
Location:
St Ann’s Catholic Church
Address:
7231 Mission Rd
City:
Prairie Village
State:
Kansas
Zip Code:
66208
Date of Service:
Aug 05 ,2022
Time of Service:
3:00 pm
Additional Information:
No Additional Information Added
Google Map:

Condolences

Kaler and Eileen Bole Jul 30 ,2022

Church Friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

A wonderful lady who lived a loving life

Kaler and Eileen Bole Jul 30 ,2022

Church Friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

A wonderful lady who lived a loving life

Gwen Howard Jul 31 ,2022

AAUW friend ,Overland Park ,Kansas

What a special friend. Several in AAUW were from Iowa and we all agreed that it made us special! Gwen

Carolyn Austin Jul 31 ,2022

Overland Park ,Overland Park ,Kansas

I first when we were students together at KU working on our M.S..W. degrees. After we both were employed by Shawnee Mission School District, where I retired from in 2003. We continued to stay in touch. l I visited Mary and Bob in both of their homes as well as at Santa Marta. I also saw her regularly at Shawnee Mission Special Ed. retirees luncheons. I always admired her for her many accomplishments as well as her sesire to help others

Margaret Walkenshaw Jul 31 ,2022

Colleague and co-worker ,Overland Park ,Kansas

It is with great sadness that I've learned of the passing of Mary. We worked together for many years in Shawnee Mission School District. I always had great respect and admiration for her social work skills as well as her delightful personality. Mary will be missed by so many!!

Tom Albert Aug 02 ,2022

Nephew ,Richland ,Washington

My Aunt Mary (Muffy) was a very special spouse to Bob, a great mom to Cathy, Bill and Amy, wonderful grandmother to Bill’s sons Tom and Andrew, sister to John, Tom and my dad Bill, super friend and workmate to so many. Simply stated Muffy was one in a million and more. I will miss her warm greetings along with Bob at our family reunions that her siblings so faithfully did for so many years. A brilliant conversationalist who could battle with the best of them on so many subjects. Truly a caring individual who overcame a lot of adversity in her lifetime and always made such a difference with the many civic endeavors she immersed herself in. I know your with husband Bob, your Mom and Dad, my mom and dad and the relatives and friends who passed away before you so it had to be one fantastic meeting walking through the gates of Heaven. We all miss you and Uncle Bob very much. God Bless you Aunt Muffy

Arlene Collins Aug 03 ,2022

cousin, maybe 6th ,Shawnee ,Kansas

Oh my, to read of all Mary's accomplishments, I so wish I had taken many more opportunities to have conversations with her. Our ancestors go back to middle England,..her grandparents stayed in Iowa, while mine ventured further to Nebraska Sandhills. Still we shared so many good stories, always with Bob contributing his own NJ stories. What a beautiful 'twinkle in her eye' has been passed to grandchildren, I got to meet Bill's 2 sons at Bob's memorial.

Kathy Riordan Aug 04 ,2022

Friend & professional colleague ,Prairie Village ,Kansas

Mary was a professional colleague during our years with SM schools. She was a solid, most competent school social worker. It was my privilege to work with her and my pleasure to have her as a friend. I’ll miss her and her spouse, Bob.

Susan Collins Aug 05 ,2022

Friend ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Mary was not only a work colleague but one of those friends you hope to have at least once in your life. She stood along you unconditionally! Mary and Bob were godparents to our son Carter. They took on this role with love and perfection. Carter has such wonderful memories of their times together that he can now pass on to his little ones. We too have incredible memories of our many times together over the years. Bob and Mary always will hold a special spot in our family’s lives and hearts . To say we miss them is superfluous! We rejoice for their new life together and keep their family in our prayers! Susan and Dennis Collins