Maria Antonina Cusumano
Maria Antonina Cusumano, the college professor, interfaith devotee, gardener, artist, and
poet/songwriter died on Saturday, August 3 at her home in Andover, MA. At her bedside was
her husband Mark Towner, son Marco Cusumano-Towner and his fiancé Lisa Bashkirova, and
her sister Flora Cusumano. She was 61 years old.
Maria was born on July 6, 1958 in Grosse Pointe, Michigan to Frank and Marie Cusumano. She
married Mark Towner on July 12, 1986, and together they raised their son, Marco Cusumano-
Towner, who was born on July 8, 1989. She is survived by her husband and son, siblings Flora
Cusumano, Frances Chigi, Theresa Cusumano, Dominic Cusumano, Vincent Cusumano, and
Frank Cusumano Jr.
Her family will host a Celebration of Life at their Andover home next week, with a funeral
service the following week at 10am on Saturday, August 17, at the Church of St. Paul the
Apostle in New York City, in accordance with her wishes.
Maria pursued the practice of integrating philosophy, scholarly inquiry, Vedanta, writing poetry
and songs, and photography into her daily life in New York City and Massachusetts. Her poems
and images have been included in a variety of publications including Basic and Applied Social
Psychology, Emma Goldman Clinic Newsletter, Psychological Perspectives, Sage Woman
Magazine, and Iowa Woman Magazine. Maria’s extensive floral gardens are another testament
to her creative expression.
Maria earned an Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a Bachelor of Fine
Arts from Parsons School of Design. She continued her education in psychology through
doctoral coursework at Antioch New England Graduate School, and undergraduate coursework
at the University of Iowa. Forever a student of theology, she immersed herself not only in the
Roman Catholicism of her birth but also in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism.
Professor Cusumano taught at Endicott College from 2001 through 2018, and held previous
teaching appointments at St. Ambrose University and Saint Mary’s College. Her areas of
expertise include figure drawing, printmaking, Carl Jung, and color theory. In addition to her
experience in higher education, she held appointments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
American Craft Museum, Davenport Museum of Art, and the International Center of
Photography. In her private practice Professor Cusumano’s clients included the New York Public
Library, The Jewish Museum, and New Museum of Contemporary Art.
Her artwork is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum,
the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Chicago Art Institute. Maria Cusumano has participated in
exhibitions at Endicott College, the Transpersonal Psychology Conference, Indiana University,
Quad City Arts Center, Hearst Center for the Arts, Davenport Museum of Art, Saint Mary’s
College, the University of Notre Dame, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Metropolitan Museum of Art,
Pratt Institute Center, Minneapolis College of Art, and the University of Michigan.
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