Lola Cowling died on April 7, 2023, in Oak Ridge, TN four days before her 96th birthday. She is preceded in death by her husband Eric and daughter Janet. She is survived by six children: Gail Cowling (Del Dillingham), Steven (Joan) Cowling, Susan Cowling, Tracy (David) Wacker, Tina (Bob) Conlon, Leslie (Bruce) England, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren whom she treasured. Lola spent her early years in Watford, England where she honed her dressmaking skills under her father’s tutelage, who was a professional tailor. She remained passionate and dedicated to clothing design and fashion her entire life. She frequently sewed her young daughters’ clothing; school pictures of different dresses sewn from the same bolt of cloth are remembered fondly.
When she was 16, Lola worked at the Halifax bomb factory to help with the war effort. She married Eric in 1945 and came to the USA on the Queen Mary with many other war brides. She received citizenship prior to welcoming their first child, Janet, in 1947, a blessing with Down Syndrome. Their devotion to Janet’s quality of life was extraordinary, especially knowing that at the time of Janet’s childhood, many children with Down Syndrome were institutionalized. Janet lived with them her entire long and beautiful life. Their other children learned many lessons from their parents’ compassionate treatment of a special needs child.
Lola and Eric shared a love of flying and had many adventures exploring the state of Michigan and beyond. Once, they had to make an emergency landing in a corn field and when they apologized to the farmer, he told them not to worry because that was the most exciting thing that ever happened there!
Lola was creative in delegating household chores such as enlisting her children to wax the floors by sliding across them in their socks while listening to rock and roll. Lola enjoyed many music genres and loved to sing along to recordings. When she moved to Oliver Springs, she became the biggest promoter of the band Jada Blade (Leslie and Bruce England are founding members). Because of her promotional abilities, Jada Blade fans designated her as “Momma Blade”, a title that made her very proud.
Lola will be missed, but we derive comfort knowing that she lived a long, healthy life full of love and laughter. Lola has requested that if you wish to show your sympathy in the form of a donation, consider making a gift to Emory Valley Center, 723 Emory Valley Road, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, ATTN: Community Engagement. Donations should be made out to “Emory Valley Center” with “In memory of Lola Cowling” in the memo line.
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