She is survived by her children: Joseph Perry Cowden of Nashville and Anne Cowden Clark of Evensville; grandson, Christopher Springer Cowden of Philadelphia, Pa.; granddaughter, Amy Cowden Walker (Jonathan) of Hendersonville and their children and her great-grandchildren: Annabelle and Logan Walker; nephews: Jerry Allen Finch (Nancy) of Richmond, Va., James Plynn Finch of Asheville, N.C., and Roy Phillips Allen (Barbara) of San Rafael, Calif.; niece, Katrinka Lee Allen Oosterling of Ontario, N.Y., their 11 children and 21 grandchildren; and cousin, Coralee Phillips Arnold of Cool, Calif., her children and grandchildren.
Her close family friends include: Judy Burton and her brother, Ric, and sister, Linda Greenwald, of Evensville and the family of Joe’s late wife, Linda Tidwell Cowden: Marie and James Peeler, Wanda Cochran and Vera and Danny Allsup of Dickson, their children and grandchildren.
Cowden was born in Clarksville on Dec. 14, 1910, to Virginia Warfield Phillips and Thomas Phelps Allen.
She had two siblings: Annabelle Virginia Allen (Finch) and Thomas Phillips Allen.
The family moved often during her early life, as her father was a Presbyterian minister serving churches in Tennessee, North Carolina and West Virginia. She attended elementary and high school in Huntington, W.Va., and earned a teacher’s certificate from Marshall University. She began her working career as a telephone operator with AT&T in Huntington.
In 1935, she accepted a position as a telephone operator at the newly created Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., where she met and married Joseph Perry Cowden in 1938.
The couple moved to Birmingham, Ala., in 1941 to be closer to Joe’s family. They had two children: Joseph Perry and Ruth Anne. After Joe’s death in 1952, Ruth returned to work in the federal service as a clerk at 3rd Army Headquarters in Birmingham, later transferring to the Social Security Administration and retiring in 1974.
She was an active member of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church and later Trinity Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, serving as a Sunday school teacher, vacation Bible school leader and member of the Helen Frye Sunday School class for women at the Woodlawn church.
Arrangements include cremation by Companion Funeral and Cremation Service in Cleveland and a memorial service to be held at a later date at Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Nashville.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3251 Greendale Rd., Birmingham, AL 35243 or Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 100 Timbers Drive, Nashville, TN 37221.
You are invited to share a personal memory of Ruth or your condolences with her family at her online guest book located at www.companionfunerals.com.