News & Events

January 8, 2012

Olive Carolyn Vick Cowden


Olive Carolyn Vick Cowden, 101, of Midland, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, January 8, 2012. Olive was born on September 2, 1910, in Valentine, Texas, to Dr. Benjamin and Emma Smith Vick.


Olive was formally trained as a concert pianist, in El Paso, during her school years, before attending the University of Texas at Austin. In lieu of pursuing a professional music career in New York, Olive eloped with Allen Cowden on December 28, 1929, to become a rancher's wife. She and Allen had their first child, Emma Sue Cowden Hightower, in El Paso in June 1931.


After ranching all over West Texas, the family settled in Midland and on the Dollarhide Ranch. Their son, James Coley Cowden, was born in Midland in September 1941. Their marriage lasted for 60 wonderful years. Olive was an active prominent citizen of Midland, who was involved in many clubs and organizations. She and Allen were longstanding members of First Baptist Church Midland, Midland Country Club, Midland Racquet Club, and Midland Petroleum Club.


Olive was a strong rancher's wife, loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. A woman with a zest for life, she loved to cook, entertain family and friends, work in her rose gardens, and travel the world. The light in her beautiful eyes was so palpable and welcoming that she never met a stranger!


Olive was preceded in death by her husband, Allen Cowden; her sister, Opal Vick Abshire; her daughter, Emma Sue Cowden Hightower; and her son in law, H. Wayne Hightower. Survivors include: son, James Coley Cowden and wife, Jeanie Tunstill Cowden of Austin; grandchildren, Martha Hightower Reyes and husband, Richard Reyes of Tarpley; H. Wayne "Buddy" Hightower, Jr. and wife, Alisa Turley Hightower of Houston; Christy Cowden Little of Houston; James Coley "Duke" Cowden, Jr. and wife, Heidi Tobleman Cowden, and Allen Tunstill Cowden, and wife, Kristin Wenning Cowden, all of Austin; and thirteen great grandchildren.


In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Dr. Gregory Bartha Scholarship at Midland College. If you wish to make an online donation, visit Give a Gift or, you may mail your donation to:


3600 N. GARFIELD • MIDLAND, TX 79705




3600 N. GARFIELD · MIDLAND, TX 79705-6399 · 432.685.4526

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