Carol Ottilia Kowing

Carol Ottilia Kowing

MONONA – Carol Kowing, age 88, passed Jan. 11, 2023, at her home, surrounded by her family and friends, after a brief illness. She was born Caroline Ottilia Dohmeyer in Milwaukee to Elroy and Alice (Papke) Dohmeyer on May 19, 1934, the eldest child of three. At the age of 15, Carol and her family moved to Madison.

While Carol attended first Shorewood High, then University of Wisconsin High School and UW-Madison, she worked as a model in local publications. At the age of 19, Carol visited New York City and ended up winning just enough money on a televised game show to pay for her room and extend her vacation. As she considered pursuing a career in fashion, life became complicated. She came home to help her family and continue her education at UW-Madison. Around this time an early beau, Gordie Kowing, returned from Korea. They married in 1954, started a family and moved to Seattle and New York for Gordie’s engineering career at Boeing. As they grew their family they returned to Madison.

In the 1960s, Carol was a Brownie and Girl Scout leader for her older daughters’ troops. In the 1970s, she passionately helped remove motorboat use on Devil’s Lake. She took classes and excelled at ceramics and gourmet cooking. The daughter of two working artists, Carol supported all things creative and joined the board of the Madison Art Center and Art Fair on The Square. She started her career in the early 1970s, working for the City of Madison hosting socials for senior citizens and regaling her family with stories of seniors getting in fights over cheating at Euchre. In this job she saw a larger need as an advocate for Seniors. She spearheaded and helped rehab a house into a group home for seniors: Emeritus House, the first of its kind in Madison. When Gordie became a partner at The Madsen Corporation developing housing for senior citizens, Carol recognized and championed the need to empower residents with well-designed public spaces and their own Resident Councils. Because of her work, Carol was appointed to the State of Wisconsin Council on Aging. Carol and Gordie worked productively side-by-side throughout the 1970s into the ‘80s, until retiring in 1984, still madly in love. Above all, Carol was a devoted wife and a loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be dearly missed by all of those she touched.

With a beautiful home on Lake Monona, and her abundant energy and cooking skills, Carol opened The Lake House Bed and Breakfast. This new role served them well until re-retirement in 1997.

Carol is survived by three daughters, Terry (Michael) Crouchet of Minneapolis, Minn., Kathleen Schreiner of Tempe, Ariz., and Jeannie (Mike Marquardt) Kowing of Madison; son-in-law, Clyde (LeAnn Pope) McGregor of Winnetka, Ill.; 12 grandchildren, Caitlin Crouchet; Gordon, Lara, Margaret, Amy, and Claire McGregor; Casey Schreiner, Alyssa Ritter, Brent and Leanne Schaefer; Leslie Biestek, Ben Park, and their spouses; seven great-grandchildren; and sisters-in-law, Janet Kowing, Mary Kowing, Dawn Dohmeyer and Sharon Dohmeyer. A vast number of friends, including her two card clubs and the Ladies of Waters Edge Condos are also recognized. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Gordie; their daughter, Joan Kowing McGregor; her brothers, David Dohmeyer and Bill Dohmeyer; her parents; and Gordie’s parents and siblings.

Funeral services will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. Visitation will precede the service from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. A dinner will be served afterward at Eastside Club. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to one of Carol’s favorite local charities: Porchlight (, JustDane (, or any charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be made at


Gunderson East

Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420