September 22, 2023

Columnist Cynthia Dewes remembered for her ‘wonderful life,’ longtime commitment to service, The Criterion newspaper

Criterion staff report

Cynthia DewesCynthia M. (Oare) Dewes, a retired employee and longtime columnist of The Criterion, died on Sept. 12 at the age of 90.

Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, at the Bittles & Hurt Mortuary in Greencastle.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23, at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 202 E. Washington St., in Greencastle.

Cynthia was born on Oct. 30, 1932, in Minneapolis, the only child of Arthur Henry Oare and Pearl Marion Keller Oare. She spent her childhood in Wayzata, Minn., and Minneapolis. In 1954, she graduated cum laude in English from the University of Minnesota and married Edward Henry Dewes II on Sept. 11 of that same year. Their sons Peter David and Andrew Paul Dewes preceded them in death, and her husband died in 2020.

Dewes was hired by The Criterion in 1982. She was responsible for writing obituaries, “The Active List”—now called “Events Calendar”—and proofreading. She also wrote feature stories and her column “Cornucopia,” which as the title suggests, touched on all aspects of life.

Although she retired from the newspaper in 1992, she continued to write her column twice a month until 2018.

An online obituary noted “it’s a wonderful life” is how she liked to describe her life, and her final “Cornucopia” column was appropriately published in the Nov. 23, 2018, issue, which was the closest issue to Thanksgiving that year.

Titled “In thanksgiving for the ‘cornucopia’ of life,” she began the column, “Life is an abundant cornucopia for which we thank God on our nation’s appointed holiday [holy day] of Thanksgiving. Like everyone, my life has been a cornucopia of opportunities and challenges, joys and sorrows which I’ve tried to share with Criterion readers for many years.”

Cynthia went on to explain how health issues had led to her decision to “hang it up.”

“Macular degeneration has made me too blind to continue,” she wrote. “Scripture says we all have a cross to bear, and this is mine.”

She ended it by writing, “At this time of Thanksgiving, I can’t praise God enough for the cornucopia of a wonderful life. As I hope to say one day at the end, ‘ “See you later!’ ” (Click here to read Cynthia’s final column)

“We were blessed to have Cynthia’s contributions for 30-plus years in our archdiocesan newspaper,” noted Mike Krokos, editor of The Criterion.

“Even when she was struggling with health issues in the latter part of her life, she always made sure to keep her Criterion column among her priorities.

“Cynthia and Ed were also regulars at the archdiocese’s annual employee recognition lunches, where retired employees are invited to come back and celebrate with current staff,” he continued. “In her later years, Ed always drove her, and I believe they enjoyed catching up with old friends and colleagues.”

Editor Emeritus John F. Fink, who worked with Dewes at The Criterion for several years, remembered her for the popularity of her column and noted, “You would be hard pressed to find someone more cheerful, and that showed in her columns.”

He also said her dedication to her faith and the work at The Criterion was seen when she chose to continue on staff there after moving to Greencastle, an hour’s drive away from the offices of the newspaper at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

“She commuted from Greencastle every day—rain, shine, snow, whatever it might be,” Fink said. “She was always there. She was a very dedicated woman.”

Cynthia was an active member of St. Monica Parish in Indianapolis and later at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Greencastle.

She also had a long history of service to her community, having served on the Indiana Board of Special Education Appeals for 25 years. She was also a den mother to her sons’ Scout troops, a member of the Community Service Extension Homemakers Club in Bainbridge, and a former member of the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana.

Survivors include four children: William (Dianne), Katherine (Johannes), James (Rita) and John (Susan), and daughters-in-law Sandee Schlosser and Janice Dewes; 14 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews.

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