Wilmette Newspaper index
Dowen, Marie A. (Died)
appeared in Wilmette Life (Wilmette, Illinois), 7 Jan 2010, B17
Full Text

Under Soviet rule art was generally suppressed in Ukraine, particularly women's artistic efforts which usually didn't have the proper political tone. After regaining independence in the early 90's women began to emerge as serious artists and the International Women's Club in Kiev thought they deserved a major show in an important venue. The perfect time was the first real celebration on International Women's Day in the mid 90's and the venue was a National Art Museum. It was an artistic and financial success, providing well deserved recognition for a number of talented ladies. Marlene bought a major piece before it was even shown and to this day it hangs prominently in their Glencoe home…Good job done by a gal of Icelandic and Norwegian heritage! Marlene herself led a rather crazy quilt life after graduating in "Home Ec" from the University of Minnesota… She never opposed Women's lib activist, but firmly believed being and wife and mother had to be a priority for a woman. After a brief career as a model and assistant buyer at a Minneapolis department store, she joined her husband in Chicago, worked briefly in the Fed's economics department, then raised a family of four children in Wilmette. Her husband traveled widely she worked tirelessly for the Infant Welfare Society of Wilmette, was a Council Member of Wilmette Lutheran Church and at one time had her own decorating consulting business. They also had six years plus of residence in London. While there she had also christened a Spanish built ship owned by a Greek shipping magnate and leased to a red Chinese shipping line. She guided many tours for visitors that always took her to the English china factories where she became the owner of more Spode and Wedgewood than most of the Wedgewood and Spodes. One of her favorite charities there was the unique Royal National Liefeboat Institute- a private entity that provides coast guard type support for shipping and boating along the British coast. The three years spent in Ukraine followed on her husband's consulting work in Eastern Europe for USAID. It was love at first sight through living conditions were initially rough. Little English was spoken by the locals, there were few modern amenities and she missed the family. She had the perfect title in mind- "Kiev is not for Chickens"- but never quite finished it. Ukrainians really loved her dinner parties since she told them her menu planning always started with dessert, dessert, dessert and she introduced them to Bundt cakes. Marlene's motto was "creativity is surrounded by chaos" and she proved it every day though she was busy, purposeful person with constant focus on always being well dressed, kind and considerate of others. She accepted people as individually unique, all able to make a positive contribution to those around them. She didn't fight technology but thought a hand written note was always more personal than e mail. All of this could have made her a little snobbish 'til people realized she loved Patsy Cline, Wheel of Fortune. Peanuts and every animal she ever met. In her final years she fought a valiant battle with COPD and endured painful back problems but tried hard to smile through it all and make it through Christmas. She did. She is survived by her husband Thomas Dowen, Jr; children, Thomas S. Dowen, Laurie D. (Tom) Curtiss, Eric A. (Louan) Dowen and Elizabeth E. Dowen; grandchildren, Katherine, Caroline and Hailey. Visitation was held Monday, January 4. Memorial Service was Tuesday, January 5 at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, Skokie. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Spinal Cord Society, 19051 County Highway 1, Fergus Falls, MN 56537 or Guardian Hospice, 1775 Winnetka Ave., Northfield, IL 60093. Info: (847) 675-1990 or www.donnellanfuneral.com.

Media Type
Genealogical Resource
Item Types
Death notices
Date of Publication
7 Jan 2010
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  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
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Dowen, Marie A. (Died)