John Kendall Dowell, age 87, of McKinney, Texas, passed in peace on March 13, 2014, at his family home in McKinney. John was born August 12, 1926, in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to Horace Bartlett and Ruth (Kendall) Dowell. He grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was a graduate of Michigan State University where he attended on a wrestling scholarship. John was a veteran who served in the United States Army Air Corps as a Pilot/Paratrooper Trainer in between World War II and the Korean War. He married his wife Irene on May 2, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan. They met at the Michigan Inspection Bureau where they both were employed. John and Irene recently celebrated their 60th anniversary together. Shortly after the birth of their daughter Nina, they moved to McKinney from Chicago, Illinois to live and work the family farm. He was a pilot instructor, crop duster, and a master story teller. John was a well admired teacher, mentor, and golf coach at McKinney High School and an avid farmer for a number of years. Many of his students fondly remember hauling hay or working cows in lieu of a scheduled golf team meeting.
He is survived by his wife, Irene Dowell of McKinney, Texas; daughter, Nina Dowell Ringley and husband, Lawrence also of McKinney; grandsons, Seth Dowell Ringley and Corbin Dowell Ringley, both of McKinney. His grand puppies, Scooby, Bela, Daisey, Ruth, Eliza and Zeus; his “sis”, Anne Dowell Barry of Tulsa, Oklahoma; and numerous other loving relatives and friends. John was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Reverend Charlie Dowell and Horace (Spider) Dowell.
John retired from McKinney ISD in 1987 to become a full time farmer but his family and friends will attest, he remained a Teacher at the school of “Hard Knocks & Common Sense!” He possessed a proud, independent spirit and a passion for hard work. Each day, John would squeeze the last remaining minutes of sunshine in order to complete a chore on the farm. Many of his students helped him haul hay or chase cows. He loved this farm and all it had to offer. His Kennedy Heirs traveled to the Republic of Texas from Tennessee by wagon in 1835. His family settled on the farm in 1838 after receiving a 1st Class Land Grant. John was very proud of his local family heritage from both sides of his parents. He never met a stranger and enjoyed sitting with friends and family telling stories and sharing memories. Food was never safe around John Dowell, especially dessert. He always said “Life is short……you should eat your dessert first!” John took extreme pride in his two grandsons and enjoyed spending time with them hauling hay, fishing or playing golf. Just about every summer of his life he vacationed in Mexico Beach, Florida with many of the Dowell families. John attended Trinity Presbyterian Church of McKinney even as a young boy.
Although John has embarked on his final “road trip” to his eternal home, to join his family and friends, his spirit will remain everlasting here on earth. For every time his name is spoken, it will spawn a countless number of stories and happy memories. He will be fondly remembered with many nicknames; Red Dog, Coach, Teflon Man, The Cat With Nine Lives, and his most favorite, “D-daddy.”
A private family graveside service and inurnment will be held at a later date on the Dowell Family Farm and his favorite gulf waters of Mexico Beach, Florida.
Memorial donations may be made to Trinity Presbyterian Church of McKinney and the McKinney Educational Foundation/John Dowell Memorial Scholarship Fund.
To convey condolences or to sign an online registry, please visit www.tjmfuneral.com.