Cawood was born Sept. 14, 1941, in Harlan, Kentucky, where her father was superintendent of schools for 38 years. She graduated in 1958 from Harding Academy in Searcy, Arkansas, and attended Tulane University and Lipscomb University before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1968 from Indiana University, a master’s from the University of Kentucky (1971) and a doctorate from Florida State University (1979) – all in vocal music performance.
She taught music at Lipscomb for 12 years before joining ACU’s faculty in 1984. She was named Teacher of the Year in 1989 for Abilene Christian’s College of Liberal and Fine Arts.
Cawood was an acclaimed soprano with a career that included singing opera and operetta with the Cologne Opera House while serving as Fulbright scholar in Munich, Germany (1966-68). In 1986 she was a featured performer in ACU Department of Music performances at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City and the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington, D.C. She also was a guest soloist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and in 1996 she was a featured performer during an ACU music department concert at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
Among her many performances as a guest artist were concerts with symphony orchestras in Abilene; Nashville, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Lexington, Kentucky; and at the Stuttgart Opera House in Germany. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, she twice won first place in district and third place in regional competition in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Cawood was a longtime member of Abilene’s Hillcrest Church of Christ.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. James A. and Lillian Greer Cawood, and a sister, Jenny Lind Cawood.
Among survivors are her nephews, James Cawood Chenault and Brian Chenault.