In Memory

Mary Lou Cousley

Mary Lou Cousley, 76, of Alton, Illinois, died on Friday, February 24, 2017 at Bethesda Heart Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida. She was a winter resident of Ocean Ridge, Florida.

Mary Lou was born July 11, 1940, at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the daughter of the late James and Jean (Handley) Williamson. She grew up in East St. Louis and moved to Alton when she married Stephen A. Cousley on June 8, 1963. She and Steve met at SIU- Carbondale, where she graduated.

Mary Lou taught second grade at Central School in Roxana. She later coached the women's tennis team at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey for nine years. She and Steve also owned and managed Dormann's Gifts and Interiors in Alton for sixteen years before she retired. They were married for 54 years and enjoyed the community involvement connected with ownership of the local newspaper and their gift shop. Steve was editor and publisher of the Alton Telegraph.

Mary Lou was an avid tennis player and golfer. She was most recently a runner-up in the Boynton Beach Links Ladies Championship. Over the span of her golfing career, she had three hole-in-ones.

She loved her family and friends from every connection. Keeping active was a high priority, as many know. Her beautiful personality could fill a room with joy and love. She excelled as a chef, party planner, and entertainer. One of her "jobs" was DJ for the Social Committee at Colonial Ridge Club, where she spent her winters.

Mary Lou was active in the community, as a charter member of the Alton Marketplace, member of Junior League of Greater Alton, Community Service League, P.E.O. Chapter IL, Alton Children's Theatre, Jennie D. Hayner Library Board, and a volunteer with many other agencies anytime they needed help. She loved helping beautify Riverview Park and the Sunken Garden, and also co-chairing the event known in short as the Duck Pluckers Ball, a fundraiser for Alton Memorial Hospital Foundation to purchase new ambulances. She was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church, where she served as a deacon.

Mary Lou is survived by her husband Steve Cousley; daughter Jean Cousley of Alton; son and daughter-in law Mark and Mary Cousley of Godfrey; grandchildren, Chrysa Cousley, Alex Cousley, and Katie Cousley; and many other in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Charles Williamson.

A visitation will be Thursday, March 2, 2017, from 4 to 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Alton. The memorial service will be Friday, March 3, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., also at the church.

Memorials in Mary Lou's honor can be sent to First Presbyterian Church in Alton, or also to US Bank for the Riverview Park & Sunken Garden Preservation Committee.

Gent Funeral Home in Alton is in charge of arrangements. Online guestbook and information may be found at