Mary Grace Cowherd

September 4, 2001 - March 13, 2020
Mary Grace Cowherd

Mary Grace Cowherd, 18, was born on September 4, 2001, and died peacefully surrounded by her family at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock on March 13, 2020. Mary was diagnosed with an arterial vascular malformation (AVM) at the age of nine and battled the disease with grace, optimism, and courage until the very end.

Although her life was too brief and full of obstacles, it was a life lived well and full of joy and hope. Mary had many interests. Like her mother, Mary loved books and was always reading at least one, and often two or three, at any time. Mary was our “home librarian” and carefully arranged our books by topics and authors. If one needed a book, Mary was the one who knew where to find it, and we were expected to return the book to her for the book to be properly re-shelved. Mary also loved for her dad to read to her as she fell asleep at night.

Mary loved to travel. Our family trips, which Mary often conceived and organized, included trips to China, London (where she had tea with mother and sisters at the Ritz and played on the lawn at the castle where her beloved Downton Abbey was filmed), several national parks (she especially loved Glacier NP in Montana), and to about half of America’s college campuses. Mary’s favorite place to travel was New York City where she went numerous times and loved to do pizza tours, explore the Strand Book Store, and see Broadway plays. Probably her best loved New York City trip was for her 16th birthday when she saw on the same day the US Open Tennis tournament and Ben Platt and the Original Cast of Dear Evan Hansen.

Mary also loved chocolate chip cookies, iced mocha’s, One Direction, Mizzou QB Drew Lock, and watching episodes of The Office, House Hunters International, and Home Town. Mary had a passion for politics and often listened to wonky political podcasts, usually at full volume on her phone at 7 AM. Mary even named her beloved 2009 Chevy Malibu “Diane” after California Senatorial Diane Feinstein – because although the Malibu was old it still ran well and looked good. Fortunately, Mary recently got to vote for the first and only time when she voted absentee last month in the Democratic Presential Primary and in the Mt. Vernon school bond issue.

Mary had big plans for her life. She wanted to go to college and earn degrees in both public policy and in law. She then wanted to work at a public policy Think Tank in Washington D.C. helping draft laws and policies, especially regarding public health issues. As a teenager, Mary saw from her own experience the high and often inaccessible cost of healthcare for many families and she wanted to work on that issue as one of her life goals.

Mary was bright, kind, humble, caring and very brave. She loved school and was an excellent student. She always challenged herself academically and began taking college duel credit classes as a sophomore in high school, something never done before at Mt. Vernon High School. Before her death, Mary had earned 30 hours of college dual credits. Mary also worked hard to earn her own money by giving swim lessons, working at her dad’s law office, and working at Summit, an afterschool program for elementary and intermediate students at Mt. Vernon.

Mary was proceeded in death by her grandfather’s Ernest Cowherd and Joel Crandell, and her grandmother Ina Claire Crandall. She is survived by her father and mother, John and Lynne Cowherd of Mt. Vernon, her brothers Wilson (wife Brigette) of Columbia, Missouri, and Sam (wife Morgan) of Springfield, Missouri, and her sisters Sally Howard (husband Michael) of Columbia, Missouri, and Nina of Mt. Vernon. Mary is also survived by her grandmother Mary Cowherd of Purdy and her step-grandmother Darlene Crandall of Mt. Vernon, as well as numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. She also leaves behind Lincoln, a Labra Doodle given to Mary on her 18th birthday last September.

Special thanks are given by the family for the exceptional care Mary received from Dr. Gresham Richter and Amber Smith of Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Mary loved Jesus and is with Him now, and although greatly missed here, she is now without pain or sorrow. Although Mary did not get to enjoy the future she so desperately wanted, she leaves with her family and all who know her a legacy of goodness and bravery that will always be with us and will always shape who we are.

A visitation under the direction of the Fossett-Mosher Funeral Home in Mt. Vernon will be held from 9:30-11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at the King’s Way Christian Church in Mt. Vernon, with a funeral service to follow at 11:00 a.m. A private family burial will follow.

Memorial contribution may be given to the Mount Vernon Community Foundation for a scholarship in Mary’s name in care of the funeral home.

Online condolences may be shared at this website.