Mary Lou Cowlishaw, who represented Naperville in the Illinois House of Representatives for nearly 20 years and has been an adjunct professor of education at North Central since 2003, died June 23 after a long and courageous bout with cancer. She was an architect of the Chicago school reform of 1995, the parent of two North Central graduates and a recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from North Central in 1999.
Visitation is Friday, June 25, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Beidelman-Kunsch Funeral Home, 516 S. Washington St., Naperville. The funeral service is Saturday, June 26, at 10 a.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 21 E. Franklin Ave. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to North Central College in memory of Mary Lou.
In 1999, when presenting Cowlishaw with the College’s honorary degree, President Wilde said, “How do you say ‘thank you’ to someone whose career as a journalist and public servant has for so long embodied what North Central College at its best seeks to teach—leadership, ethics and values? In a world of political power-brokers and deal-makers, you have never abandoned the commitment to our young people and democratic principles which brought you into public service in the first place, or the humanity and decency that have characterized your every action, public and private. Quite simply, we're proud that you represent us.”
She is survived by her husband Wayne, daughters Beth McDaniel and Paula ’92 Rader, and eight grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son John ’95, who died in 2005, and in whose memory the John Miller Cowlishaw Music Scholarship was established.