Michael Margaret Stewart, American lawyer, Died at 62

Michael Margaret Stewart, formerly Michael Cowper, was born on December 28, 1952, in Paris, France and died on October 22, 2015.

She was an American lawyer and literacy advocate.

Her parents were Margaret and Colonel William Stewart.

She attended the Lincoln Junior High School and Santa Monica High School.

At 32 yrs old, Stewart graduated from Santa Barbara College of Law.

She was married to Justin Hodges, which ended in divorce.

She then got married to Steve Cowper.

Her husband was an Alaskan politician, who was preparing for his second gubernatorial campaign, following an unsuccessful bid for Governor of Alaska in 1982.

The couple moved to Alaska.

They had a son, namely Wade Cowper, who was born on August 29, 1986, just three days after the primary.

Michael challenged literacy and rural health care during her four years as First Lady of Alaska.

She donated book sets to all 383 elementary schools in Alaska at the time, as First Lady.

Stewart came up with a signature program, “Look to a Book,” in 1989 to promote children’s reading and literacy, particularly in more remote, rural and Native Alaskan villages in the state.

Stewart received a State Reading Association Literacy Award for her work to promote reading.

After a video produced on behalf of her “Look to a Book” received a national award from the Children’s Television Workshop.

She also traveled throughout Alaska on behalf of the Cowper administration’s Health Care Commission, which focused on educational accountability and drew-up almost fifty recommendations to alleviate economic and social problems.

Stewart also served as a goodwill ambassador for the state.

She accompanied state gubernatorial trade missions to China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as the Soviet Union, which had opened business opportunities to Alaska during Perestroika.

The family moved to Santa Barbara, California, shortly after Cowper left office.

Michael Margaret Stewart and Steve Cowper divorced in 1991.

Michael Margaret Stewart continued to practice law in Santa Barbara and raised her son, Wade Cowper, who also became a California lawyer in a for a nonprofit.

Stewart initially worked with colleagues, Jackie Misho and Anna Karczag.

She then partnered with Marty Cohn, specializing in family law for almost ten years, until a few months before her death in 2015.

Michael Stewart was given a prognosis of three to six months to live due to ovarian cancer, in April 2015.

Michael Margaret Stewart died passed away at 62 yrs old at Serenity House, a hospice in Santa Barbara, California, on October 22, 2015.