Lois Cowles

Lois Edith Solomon Cowles was born June 17, 1929, in Kalamazoo, Michigan at Borgess Hospital. On November 12, 2021, she died peacefully, and the angels carried her home to be with her husband Winfield.
Lois’ first home in Kalamazoo was at Gilbert and Hotop, where the family lived upstairs. Aunt Edna and “Grandma” Phelps also lived there. The family had a victrola and old-fashioned crank phone. She remembers making childhood prank phone calls, saying it was Mr. Pepper asking for Mrs. Salt.
In 1933 the family moved to Jefferson Avenue/Prairie where they rented. In 1937 the Solomon family moved to 615 N. Prairie. At the time, the home still had an outhouse.
Lois attended elementary school on West Main Street. It was there she met Dorothy Tucker, her lifelong friend. She attended Woodwards Junior High and then State High in Kalamazoo, where tuition was required.
She started playing the piano at the age of eight and then learned the old-fashioned pipe organ – operated with foot pedals — as a young adult. Throughout her youth she had two piano teachers, one was a church organist, and she recalls the name of the other as Francis Iney. Lois enjoyed attending recitals and musicals.
Lois went to college from 1947-1951 at Western Michigan University, following in the footsteps where her parents met. She majored in Education with French/History minors. She joined the French Club and an off-campus sorority.
From 1951 – 1952 she student taught at W.K. Kellogg Consolidated, which was a one room (12 grades) school. She lived in a club house for student teachers during those years.
Her father was Pastor of the West Side Gospel Church from 1935 – 1945 then the family attended Gospel Hall in Kalamazoo. He was also a Pastor at the Methodist Church in Alamo.
Lois later attended Calvary Church in Kalamazoo where she played piano and sang in the choir. As an adult, Lois and husband Winfield attended the First Baptist Church in Eaton Rapids where Lois played the piano and pipe organ. Later they joined South Baptist Church in Lansing where Lois played the piano for Sunday School. They joined the Griffith Methodist Church in the 1980s and both taught Sunday School and enjoyed social events including ice cream socials.
In the summer of 1952 Lois noticed an opening of a teaching position in Eaton Rapids and decided to move away from home. Back then schools were one room schoolhouses with all 12 grades and no indoor plumbing. Her first position was at the Bentley school Her room was featured on the back cover of the book “Rural School of Eaton County Michigan” featuring a class photo from March 12, 1954.
When Lois graduated from college, she still desired to be a missionary, but when she moved to Eaton Rapids, she met a handsome young man named Winfield Cowles. Winfield and Lois married May 30, 1954 and married 64 years before Winfield passed away in 2018. They had two daughters, Cheri Lu (Harding) and Sue Ann (Kelch).
Lois was a member of the Eaton Rapids Education Association and Michigan Association of Retired Persons. During her teaching career, she served as a Union Representative for Northwestern Elementary School in the early 1980s where she taught 3rd grade until she retired in June of 1991. She also joined the Home Extension in Eaton Rapids and the Lois Club.
Lois and Winfield enjoyed a long retirement together, and enjoyed square dancing, bluegrass festivals and teaching Sunday School together. Lois also enjoyed retired teachers’ teas, Lois Club luncheons and was known to host neighborhood parties at their Springport Road home. Lois and Winfield enjoyed travelling to many places across the country, including their favorite trip to the Grand Canyon with their daughters and their husbands.
The last four and a half years of her life she lived at Brookdale in Ann Arbor near her daughter Sue. She enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles, playing BINGO and was especially fond of dominoes with Winfield and family. She also joined in all of the fun group activities like going to the Yankee Air Museum, lunch bunch, and trivial pursuit. She never lost her gift to play the piano beautifully – all by memory and no sheet music — even to the last day. She was loved by all of the residents and staff and will be dearly missed by all.
She was preceded in death by her father CL Solomon, her mother Edith (McGowan) Solomon, brother Vincent, sister Ann (Willsea) Solomon and husband Winfield. She is survived by her daughters Cheri (Roger) Harding, Sue (Ray) Kelch; grandchildren Lindsay (Jess) Harding and Hilary (Ruben) Montano; great grandchildren Jacoby William and foster siblings Jabari and Heather; Ruben Joseph and Ryland Griffith Montano; along with numerous nieces and nephews.