Mary Lawton

Honored by:James Lawton
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Dedicated to Lillian (Lawton) Nowers and Mary (Lawton) Wright Cummins.

Lillian (Lawton) Nowers b. 29 Sept 1900 Cooper, IA d. 24 Feb 1977 Waukesha, WI Attended Iowa State College 1920-1922 associates degree teaching certification

Mary (Lawton) Wright Cummins b. 27 Jan 1902 Cooper, IA d. 27 Jan 1992 Sun City West, AZ Attended Iowa State College 1920-1922 associates degree teaching certification Graduated with a B.S. in Home Economics Iowa State College 1925.

Donation made by the Lawton Family, which has had continuous family reunions since the first one held at Lillian and Mary's parents home (William H. and Emma (Sheldon) Lawton) near Cooper in Greene county Iowa about 1918.

The family honors Lillian (Lawton) Nowers and Mary (Lawton) Wright Cummins for their accomplishments as students teachers and business women. They were among the first to enroll in the Domestic Sciences (Home Economics) classes at the University and the first of many women (and men) in the family who followed them to Iowa State College and Iowa State University through the years since then. Since then many others of the Lawton women have also been Home Economics majors and graduates of Iowa State University.

Education and Careers: Lillian and Mary grew up on a farm near Cooper in Greene County Iowa attended "Pike's Peak country school through the 8th grade and graduated from Franklin Township High School which then had ten grades. They graduated in 1919 from the 12-year Guthrie County High School in Panora, Iowa. During the last two years they boarded away from home. The next year both attended Cornell College at Mt. Vernon, Iowa. It was Lillian who first became interested in the domestic science course for teachers at Iowa State College (I.S.U.) and persuaded her sister to switch colleges also.

Lillian completed her training for teaching Home Economics with two more years at Iowa State and taught Home Economics in Atkinson, Illinois for two years. She completed her B.S. in Home Economics about 1935. During World War II she worked for the Farm Home Administration. Later she owned and operated a retirement home for the elderly in Waukesha Wisconsin for several years.

Mary graduated from Iowa State College (I.S.U.) with a B.S. degree in Home Economics in 1925 with a major in Foods and Nutrition. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi. In the interim she taught 3 years at high schools in Grimes and Woodward Iowa. She graduated with an M.S. in Nutrition from the College of Medicine at the University of Iowa in 1926 and served a one-year nutrition internship at the University of Iowa General and Children's hospital. She taught 3 ½ years at Purdue University (1926 to 1930) where her husband Harry Wright was also on the teaching staff. After the family moved to Chicago Mary was assistant to the food editor of "The Chicago American" newspaper; Director of Women's Programs at W.L.S. radio station; Director of Home Economics U.S. Advertising Agency (later Ewell & Thurber Assoc.). In 1948 she started her own business Mary Wright's Kitchen Studio where food was styled and photographed for magazine articles and advertisements. During the years she also contributed material for cook books used as texts in home-ec classes. She sold her business in 1956. After Harry's death she was employed as Associate Professor at Arizona State University Tempe for 8 ½ years hired she said because of her knowledge of advertising. She also conducted several Gourmet World (Food) Tours with trips to Europe and Hong Kong, China.

Families: Lillian and Lyman Nowers were married in 1923 at Rock Island, Illinois. They lived in Bloomington, Illinois where Lyman worked with heavy equipment for road construction. In 1925 they moved to Waukesha, Wisconsin and Lyman was employed as a foreman by Waukesha Motors until his retirement in 1968. He died in 1971; Lillian in 1977.

They had one daughter Nelva Jean Kremers (I.S.U. 1946) who lives in Elm Grove, Wisconsin and two sons William and Gordon. William and Mildred Nowers live in Fairfax, Virginia and Gordon and PatNowers now live in Zephyrhills Florida. All three are retired. She and Lyman had thirteen grandchildren.

Mary and Harry Wright were married in 1928 in Lafayette, Indiana where their daughter Eileen was born in 1930. Harry taught three years at Nitro, West Virginia and Frankfort, Indiana after he graduated with a B.S. from Bradley University, Peoria, IL in 1924. He earned an M.S. in 1929 from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana where he served as an instructor from 1926-1930. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, and Harry taught Descriptive Geometry and Mechanical Drawing at Lyons Township Junior College in LaGrange, Illinois for 30 years. He died soon after his retirement in 1960. Their daughter, Eileen MacWithey died in 1982. Eileen's husband, Stan MacWithey, lives in Richardson, Texas. They had six children, all of whom live in Texas.

Mary retired from Arizona State when she married her second husband, Walden Cummins, a widower and friend from back home in Western Springs, Illinois. walden had been employed for more than 49 years by the Cyrus McCormick Estate of Chicago, Illinois, serving as financial manager at the time of his retirement in 1971. They lived in Illinois for several years, then moved to Phoenix. Walden died in 1979, and Mary in 1992 on her 90th birthday.

Mary had worked on family genealogy starting in the 1950's. At the time of her death she was researching the Sheldon family, and preparing the Lawton family genealogy for publication.