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1939 Anna 2017

Anna Cowan

May 19, 1939 — January 27, 2017

Cecilia "Cel" Albritton Cowan passed away on January 27, 2017, in Hamlin, Texas, at the age of 77. She was preceded in death by the love of her life and husband of 55 years, Joe Donald Cowan.

Cel was born May 19, 1939 in Abilene, Texas, to the late William Henry Albritton and Dorothy Boyd Albritton. She graduated from Hamlin High School in 1957 and then North Texas State College in 1960 with a degree in mathematics and began teaching in Dallas. While in Dallas, Cel and Joe had their first child, Craig. Joe's career moved them to Lexington, Mississippi in 1965. There she continued to teach and later had two more children, Celia and Chad. She and Joe wanted to move back home, and in 1972 her father Henry Albritton offered Joe a job at Albritton Motor Company. After moving back to Hamlin, Cel and Joe had their fourth child, Christian. Cel and Joe lived there the rest of their lives.

Cel's faith in Jesus Christ was an integral part of her life. Because of her faith, she was very active in her children's lives, including taking them to church and getting them involved in church activities. She had high expectations of her kids when it came to academics and character, but she was also the most loving mother anyone could have. Education was always stressed in the Cowan household. She expected her children to be educated and to be independent. She and Joe sacrificed much so her children could go to college. She was very proud that they all graduated with college degrees. Cel expected excellence in academics, but she also expected her children to live lives that honor God. She demonstrated a life of service by her involvement in the community. She taught Sunday School at First Baptist Hamlin for over 40 years, along with being a leader and volunteer in other programs like Awanas, VBS, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and PTA.
Cel's faith also influenced who she was as a teacher. She was a lifelong teacher. She returned to teaching in 1989 and taught another 21 years full time at Hamlin High School. Teaching was her mission, not her job. Her mission was not only to teach math, but also to be a positive example for her students. As a math teacher, she was firm but encouraging; she was well-known for rewarding her students' efforts with Jolly Ranchers. She required both excellence and respect from her students, and she taught them with excellence and respect. Each day, she would arrive at school before classes and stay late after school to tutor any student needing help. Joe always said the school would shut down if Cel were not there. She was a true teacher, caring for her students both in and out of the classroom.
Cel would say the best part of her life began when her children graduated, were married, and then had children of their own. Once she became a grandmother, Cel changed from being Mother, to Mimi. She adored her grandchildren. Every summer, she hosted what she and Joe called "Camp Cowan" where all the grandchildren that were old enough stayed at their house for a week. She and Joe would take them to the river, have cook outs, visit the Zoo and the Grace Museum, go to the golf course, and go fishing. Everyone in town knew about Camp Cowan and the great times the grandchildren had with their Mimi and Big Daddy. She and Joe always said that if they knew how awesome grandchildren were, they would have had them first.
In 2011, Cel suffered from sepsis and nearly died. That year changed her and Joe forever. They treasured the last years of their lives even more, visiting kids and grandchildren and traveling when they could. Even so, Cel continued to teach and tutor (usually for free), including teaching GED classes. When Joe passed away in July 2016 after a short battle with cancer, Cel was never the same. She still visited grandchildren frequently, but she always hurt for the absence of Joe. Today they are together in Heaven once again, and her aching for Joe is over.
Cel's faith was the central part of her life, influencing everything she did, as a mother, a teacher, and a grandmother. The world is a better place because of Cel, and she will be missed by many. She enriched the lives of all she knew.
Cel is survived by her children, Craig and wife Jill, of Lamesa, Texas; Celia and husband Thom, of Austin; Chad and wife Holly of Anson; and Christian and wife Toni of Brandon, Mississippi, and by her grandchildren Davis, Emma, Campbell, Anna, Justiss, Boyd, Samuel, Randy and Haley. She is also survived by her sisters, Dotty Buie of Kingwood, Texas, and Jan Matney of Bozeman, Montana.
A celebration of life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1, 2016, at the First Baptist Church of Hamlin.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Cel Cowan Scholarship Fund set up at the Hamlin National Bank, PO BOX 308, Hamlin, Texas 79520.

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