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Alaska News

Former Alaska first lady Michael Margaret Stewart, ex-wife of Steve Cowper, dead at 62

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published October 27, 2015

Stewart was married to Steve Cowper, who served one term as the sixth governor of Alaska from 1986 to 1990. They had met in California in 1984.

Just three days after Cowper's victory in the 1986 Alaska Democratic primary, Stewart gave birth to their son, Wade, the Anchorage Daily News reported at the time.

Stewart launched the "Look to a Book" program, which focused on encouraging reading, especially in rural Alaska. An Anchorage Daily News story from 1986 reported that people who met Stewart often said of her: "She's smart, has style and looks like she comes from money."

In 1989, Cowper announced that he would not run for re-election. The family soon moved to Santa Barbara, and in 1991 the couple divorced. Stewart stayed in Santa Barbara, raised Wade and practiced law, her obituary said.

"She exercised daily, loved riding her bike and took trips through Europe and wine country while savoring gourmet cuisine and fine wines," her obituary said. "Her son Wade often accompanied her."

In April, Stewart's doctor told her she likely had two to three months to live, perhaps six months at the most. Stewart died Oct. 22.

Gov. Bill Walker's office released a statement Tuesday ordering flags to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday in honor of Stewart.

"Donna and I are praying for Michael's family, and anyone who had the great pleasure of calling her a friend," Walker said in the statement.

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