I love driving by the horse farm on Tompkins Road, because there are always horses out and about in their colorful winter sweaters. And I usually see a few of those fluffy white dogs guarding the pasture, but the other day, I counted NINE fluffy white dogs! Pictured above are a few of them. (I couldn’t get them all in one place at the same time.)
For longtime OMPers, this is the farm where Mae Cowan lived, on the corner of Center Road and Tompkins Road, out by Mission Point Lighthouse. Mae’s house and barn are still there, next to the new horse barn. Back in the 1960s and early 70s, I would ride down with Mom on Sunday mornings to pick up Mae for church. She was a lovely soul, and she and mom were kindred spirits, as they were both nurses.
I found the notice below in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, dated May 3, 1958, which notes that Mae attended a nursing conference presented by the Grand Traverse County unit of the American Cancer Society and Michigan State Nurses Association. The event took place at Gilbert Lodge, and Mrs. Fred Dohm, Mrs. Ray Carroll, Mrs. Robert Fuller and Mrs. Oscar Thomas were other OMP nurses in attendance.
According to Mae’s obituary, which I’ve included below (Traverse City Record-Eagle; March 20, 1977), Mae was born on the Old Mission Peninsula on March 15, 1895, to parents John and Rose (Quaife) Tompkins. On Oct. 11, 1933, she married David J. Cowan in Peoria, Illinois. They only had a few years together, as he died on Oct. 1, 1936.
The obit notes that Mae “graduated at Traverse City State Hospital as a registered nurse,” and was employed in South Haven; Louisville, Kentucky; and Peoria, Illinois. I wonder if her husband’s passing prompted her to move back home to the Old Mission Peninsula, because in 1938, she began work as a private duty nurse at Munson Medical Center.
She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Old Mission Women’s Club, Farm Bureau and Ogdensburg United Methodist Church.
The obit also says that she was survived by her cousins, and close friends, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Horton and family of Old Mission. Does anyone know more about that family connection? If so, tell us in the comments section below.