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Donna Brookes Cowan, Phd.


Donna Brookes Cowan 70, of Fernandina Beach, FL, formerly of Burlington, VT and Bowie, MD, died unexpectedly Sunday, May 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL.

Brookes, a much beloved professor at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington, VT for 32 years, was named Outstanding Professor of the Year and nominated for the award every subsequent year thereafter. Having received her Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Brookes also earned a Masters of Social Work while teaching at UVM and provided grief counseling to the bereaved of the Burlington area.

She was a passionate advocate for quality end of life care and hospice and taught an original course on the Sociology of Death and Dying in hopes that graduating students would carry the hospice message back to their families and friends.

She was an avid tennis player with a wicked sliced backhand and played on several intra-island and inter-club leagues in the greater Amelia Island area.

She was predeceased by her parents, Eugene and Grace Cowan of Bowie, MD.

She leaves behind her spouse Jaye Roseborough and her two dogs, AnjoBanjo and Buckaroo, of Fernandina, her daughter-in-law Lori Haller and granddaughters Olivia and Emma, of Boston, MA, a brother, Edward Eugene Cowan, Jr. and nephews Seth and Adam Cowan of Frederick, MD, several beloved cousins and their spouses and children, and many wonderful friends.

A celebration of her life will be held sometime next month.


NATALIE JANSEN November 18, 2019
I took, I think 4 classes with Dr. Cowan during my time at UVM, and she is a big reason I look back on that time fondly. I remembered that my last classes on Sociology of Death and Dying were also her last at the school, and over the past few months had been pondering how I might be able to send her a message to let her know how much I use not only what she taught me, but how she taught me to think about things in different ways and from different perspectives. So sad, then, to find this news- humanity has suffered a great loss. My world, at least, and my communities, have benefited so greatly from her existence. It feels ironic, at this moment, that Brooks was the one who taught us how to grieve. And, of course, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Thank you, thank you.

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