McDowell, John (Dick)

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John (Dick) McDowell passed away peacefully on March 8 , 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia. He was born on August 27, 1927 in Chattanooga, TN, to J.H. “Mac” and Ethel Johnston McDowell.

Growing up during the Great Depression, he developed a love of all things mechanical. His lifelong love for the outdoors began during those years on the newly created Lake Chickamauga. At Chattanooga High School he was part of a government-sponsored program that taught young men to serve as pilots in World War II. Upon graduation, Dick served in the United States Navy during the final months of the war. He completed his degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, later achieving the status of Professional Engineer and earning a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering.

Dick is survived by his wife of 51 years, Martha Jane Denton McDowell. They lived in Knoxville for 40 years. After Dick’s retirement, they enjoyed four years in Floyd, VA, a small community close to the Blue Ridge Parkway that offered music, art and a way of life they both enjoyed.

Dick is also survived by three children and their families: John and his wife Cathy McDowell and their sons Jonah and Ethan of Blacksburg, VA; Susan McDowell, her husband Bob Elder and their son Mac of Austin TX; Mary McDowell, her husband Calvin Lin and their sons Emmett and Ronan, of Austin, TX.

Dick leaves behind his brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Louise McDowell of Chattanooga, TN and their children David, of Saraland, Alabama and Karen, of Lexington, KY, who as an adult became a valued friend as well as a niece.

Dick will be remembered by his family and friends for sharing his ideals, humor and love of the mountains, lakes, rivers and oceans. The last year of his life with Alzheimer’s Disease was made easier by the care and affection he received through the Cove at Kroontje Health Center and Good Samaritan Hospice of the New River Valley.

Those wishing to honor his memory may do so to a charity or cause of their choice.