In memory of
Elizabeth "Betsy" (McIlheran) Gowan
Elizabeth ("Betsy") McIlheran Gowan died peacefully on November 23, 2019. Born in Dallas on July 20, 1938, to Elizabeth Long McIlheran and George Colyar McIlheran, Betsy was raised in Fort Worth and graduated from Arlington Heights High School in 1956. Betsy attended SMU where she studied political science and was a member of Pi Beta Phi. After graduating in 1960, Betsy worked at SMU where she met Tom Gowan. Betsy and Tom wed on November 22, 1961, and remained happily married until Tom's death on November 13, 2013. Betsy had a generous spirit and lived her life consistently willing and choosing the good of others. Full of hospitality, Betsy lived St. Benedict's admonition: "Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ." Betsy instinctively loved the underdog, the stranger, the refugee, and the outcast. She never showed favoritism towards the wealthy or powerful. Rather, she gave liberally of her time, talents, and treasure to St. James Episcopal Church as well as those in need who crossed her path. Betsy and Tom were pillars at St. James for five decades, selflessly working in and giving to almost every aspect of the corporate life of the parish. Though Betsy worked in and gave to far too many service ministries to list, her love for refugees stood out. She was instrumental in encouraging the church to support a refugee family from Vietnam that was resettled in Dallas in 1975. She made a huge impact on that family as well as many other individuals and families from all walks of life that she supported through encouraging words, acts of service and prayer. Also, her chocolate pie was amazing. She loved hosting friends and family, and she wanted her home to be a place where all were welcome. She loved spending time with her many friends and especially her five grandchildren. Betsy was preceded in death by her husband, Tom, her parents and her brothers, George McIlheran, Jr. and Tom McIlheran. Betsy is survived by her three daughters - Ann Jacobson, Madelyn Holmes, and Katherine Gowan - and five grandchildren - Brooke and Rebecca Jacobson, and Allie, Thomas, and Layne Holmes. A memorial service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church, 9845 McCree Road, Dallas, Texas on Saturday, December 7, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. James Episcopal Church.
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