Mary Catherine Cowan Byers

Portrait of Mary Catherine Cowan Byers Headstone Photograph


William Bowling (BO)
Apr. 20, 1920


Mary Catherine Cowan
Nov. 11, 1915


Jan. 18, 1942
Full Name: Mary Catherine Cowan Byers
Location: Section:Statesman's Meadow, Section 1 (E)
Row:U  Number:24
Reason for Eligibility: Wife of William Bowling Byers 
Birth Date: November 11, 1915 
Died: October 16, 2006 
Burial Date: October 24, 2006 

BYERS, MARY CATHERINE COWAN (1915 ~ 2006). The following is an obituary for Mary Catherine Cowan Byers, spouse of award-winning journalist William "Bo" Byers. The obituary was published in the Austin American-Statesman.

"Mary Catherine Cowan Byers, beloved wife of William B. 'Bo' Byers, passed away Monday, October 16. Born November 11, 1915, in Waco, Texas, she was the daughter of Clara Holub Cowan and Louis 'Susie' Cowan.

She graduated from Waco High School in 1915. She worked in the classified advertising department of the Waco Herald Tribune. In 1941 she moved to Tyler, Texas to work in the classified advertising department of the Tyler Morning Telegraph-Courier-Times.

She married William Bowling 'Bo' Byers January 18, 1942. After he went overseas in the U.S. Air Force in 1944 she returned to Waco and worked for Lone Star Gas Company. After having six children she enrolled in The University of Texas and received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1955. She taught at John B. Winn and Brentwood Elementary schools for 20 years and later was a substitute teacher at several schools for twelve years.

She was a member of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, The Austin Retired Teachers Association and the Third Friday Night Book Club.

Mary Catherine and Bo took their children on trips to Mexico and Boise, Idaho. They visited Hawaii, flew to England for the 50-year celebration of D-day and to Czechoslovakia, where they found the village and the house where Mary Catherine's grandparents had lived before they came to the United States in 1862. Mary Catherine and Bo visited Prague, the golden city, where they met and dined with a couple whose parents they had met at their daughter Ann's home in San Diego, California.

Mary Catherine read the Austin American-Statesman and the Houston Chronicle, for which Bo was bureau chief, for fifty years. She had a fabulous memory and could recall virtually everything of significance that had happened during the past 50 years.

Mary Catherine will be remembered for the parties which she hosted for many years. She was famous for her cheese squares, enchiladas, and sand tarts.

She was a member of SAGE, which stands for Seminars for Advanced Growth and Enrichment, and enjoyed the Great Books seminars conducted by Jack Cross. She was an avid reader and enjoyed our Third Friday Night Book Club meetings where we discussed the book for that month.

She enjoyed dancing and we participated in a dance club that met once a month. She accompanied Bo on many trips to research genealogy records. On one of our trips we drove to Maine, to visit our friend Cathy Boger, the widow of George Boger, Bo's fellow navigator for whom Bo had been best man at his wedding.

Mary Catherine's spirit was good until she fell ill. She was a beautiful woman, five feet seven, as a younger woman she was a gorgeous brunette, at age 90 she had lovely white hair.

She is survived by three sons, Beau, Win and John Ed and wife Alice all of Austin; three daughters Mary Herrick and husband Chuck of Waelder, Jean Axtell and husband Alan of San Antonio, and Ann Wille of San Diego, California; sister in laws, Charline Huskisson and Charmian Akins of Dallas; many nephews and nieces of Dallas, granddaughters, Julia Walden of Austin, Daphne Ingram of San Antonio, and Belen Byers and Madison Byers of Austin; great granddaughter Eliot Ingram of San Antonio; grandson Greg Wille and wife Glory, and great-grandson Lance Wille of Temple.

Visitation will be Monday night, October 23rd from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home.

A Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24th at Central Presbyterian Church, 200 East Eighth Street. Burial will follow in Texas State Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Beau Byers, John Byers, Win Byers, Greg Wille, John Charles Langdon, and Steve Davis. Honorary pallbearers will be Dick Moulton of Franklin, North Carolina, Jack Wyatt of Sequim, Washington, members of Bo's B-17 crew during World War II and John Harmon, Mark Pierce, Jim Lancaster, Moton Crockett, and Forest Gober."

Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.

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