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 Livvie <I>Bilbrey</I> McCowan

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Livvie Bilbrey McCowan

  • Birth 10 Apr 1920 Overton County, Tennessee, USA
  • Death 9 Feb 2010 Yorktown, Delaware County, Indiana, USA
  • Burial Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, USA
  • Memorial ID 47939629

One of the greatest women who ever lived.

Livvie was my great-grandmother, my granny, and I was lucky enough to very closely share the first 38 years of my life with her. There is no one I respect more than her.

Her mother died before she turned 5 and an education was something unavailable to her. She also never attempted to get a driver's license. She married a man she loved with all her heart, but who could not control his drinking. And yet at no time did she waiver in her course of life nor did her faith in God ever falter.

When Livvie married Arthur McCowan she was two months shy of her 16th birthday. They married in Monterey, Tennessee. Eleven months later the first of their five daughters, Ina Mae (my grandmother), was born. Then came Anna, Norene, Christine and Jearleen (Jeri). Norene died before her first birthday.

Arthur left Tennessee for Ohio and Indiana to look for work and Livvie and the four girls followed. My Granny soon realized her husband was not going to be a good provider, so she found herself a job in a glass factory in Indiana. Eventually she divorced her husband to provide a safer environment for her daughters. She never removed her wedding ring, and she never remarried.

My Granny walked herself to church every Sunday and she never let herself become idle. She tended all her own yard work, planted, harvested and canned vegetables and cooked the best homemade food I have ever tasted. She paid her bills without ever incurring a late fee in her life. If you couldn't afford to buy it, you didn't need to have it.

She was so frugal she reused bread sacks, bread ties and butter bowls. She was eco-friendly decades before conservationists.

She nurtured her girls, tended to and loved her grandchildren, raised a great-granddaughter, Jacqueline, and watched her great-great grandchildren while my husband was deployed and again when I earned my college degree.

She stayed at her daughter Ina's bedside for months when she was dying of pancreas cancer and her sister Danzy's when she was dying too. It seemed she was inexhaustible. She mourned the deaths of two daughters, her parents, three grandsons, at least four great-grandchildren, some great-great grandchildren and most of her siblings.

She understood what was right and what was important in the world.

I hear her voice in my head all the time. Missed calls that I wish I had not missed, "Crystal, it's Grandma, pick up" in that sweet, scratchy Tennessee accent on my voicemail. I dial her number just to see "Calling Granny..." knowing that if I will hear that the number has been disconnected, but feeling that I am almost able to talk to her.

I spent so much time with her, but it was still not enough to sustain me.

A beautiful woman inside and out who never lost sight of the course. I am better for having had her in my life, but forever heartbroken that she is gone. I wonder if the memories will ever come without the tears.

Family Members


  • Created by: Crystal
  • Added: 10 Feb 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 47939629
  • Crystal
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Livvie Bilbrey McCowan (10 Apr 1920–9 Feb 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 47939629, citing Gardens of Memory, Muncie, Delaware County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Crystal (contributor 47091776) .