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John McDowell


John McDowell

John Allen McDowell passed away unexpectedly on May 6, 2015, in Yuma, Arizona.

He was born in Vancouver, WA on April 22, 1940 to John and Artice McDowell. John spent his childhood in Washougal and was an inquisitive and adventurous boy. He played football and ran hurdles for Washougal High School. John joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956 and was honorably discharged in October of 1959.

After his discharge he and his wife Charlene, along with two children, Deby and Dianne, traveled back to Camas and he worked in the Camas Paper Mill for a few years, during which time they had two more children, John Brian and Leisa. Soon after, they traveled to Auburn where John worked for Boeing and attended college at Green River Community College to study history. They moved back to Vancouver for construction work, where their fifth child, Tara was born. The couple divorced in 1973 and John married Brenda Laird; then moved to Goldendale. Brenda's three children, Alan, Sherri and Todd, became like John's own.

While building his career, John worked for various companies including the Klickitat County Road Department. He even drove truck in Alaska – where Blake, the youngest of his six children was born. John traveled on to Redmond and worked in Seattle for some time. After Brenda passed away, John moved to Glenwood to raise their son as promised with his third wife Jeri McDowell. At that time, he became a stepfather to Lance McDowell. John operated the Bird Creek Inn Tavern and drove log truck throughout the late 1980s to mid-90's. John's love for construction eventually pulled him back to the city; he ran various large projects all over the United States.

At age 62, he remarried his first wife, Charlene, and they spent the last 12 years together, wintering at their home in Yuma and spending summers in the Northwest with family and friends. John loved riding quads and camping with his friends. He loved singing, dancing and karaoke. He continued to build anything he could; homes, garages, tree houses, and any project he could work with his hands. Football season was devoted to the TV, as he jumped out of his chair laughing at great plays. He enjoyed teasing fans of the opposing teams, even though he admired the great players of any team. He supported the Seattle Seahawks and sported their attire.

He is survived by his first and last love, Charlene McDowell; two sisters, Louise Bush and Vickie Thurgood (Marvin); stepfather Leonard Balcom; children Deby McDowell, Dianne Marvel (Ken), J. Brian McDowell (Keri), Leisa Gimlin, Tara Foster (Tim), Blake McDowell (Autumn); stepchildren Todd Laird, Sherrie Losh and Lance Chambers; 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

John was preceded in death by his parents John McDowell and Artice Balcom; his sister, Linda Silito and brother Steve McDowell; stepson Alan Laird; grandsons Jacob Marvel and Alex McDowell and step-grandson Bryan Chambers.

A memorial will be held in Washougal at Hathaway Park on May 30, at 11 a.m.


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