Clara Jean Black McDowell, of Dallas, passed away November 27, 2023 in Dallas, Texas. Jean was born in Athens, Texas, on December 9, 1925. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Ralph Lynn McDowell, her parents Clara Nicks Black and Lyman Elbert Black, of Athens, Texas, and by her sister, Frances Black Brandau of Houston, Texas. She is survived by her son, Robert McDowell and his wife Sallye Reavis McDowell of Fort Worth and her daughter, Patricia McDowell Meachum and her husband, Charles Meachum of McKinney, Texas. Jean is also survived by her grandchildren Megan Ann McDowell of Dallas, Texas, Owen Meachum and his wife Lillian of McKinney, Texas, and Hollis Meachum and his wife Atkyn of Austin, Texas.
Jean graduated from Athens High School in 1943. She attended North Texas State from 1943-44, and she attended the University of Texas from 1944-47 where she was a member of Alpha Phi Sorority. She was a music major and a voice and dance student. As a teenager, she sang The White Cliffs of Dover at World War II bond rallies when the Governor of Texas and other dignitaries assembled in the Athens football stadium. She sang and danced in the early years of the Starlight Operettas in the Fair Park Band Shell during the summers of 1943 and 1944. The Dallas Summer Musicals evolved from the Starlight Operetta performances. At North Texas State, she was chosen to participate in the College Capers radio program on WFAA, and she participated in providing entertainment at several Army camps for our soldiers until they departed overseas. At the University of Texas, she sang in many Curtain Club productions and sang with the college dance band, Southern Gentleman. She worked in the State Legislature for State Representative James Spencer of Athens. James Spencer was a Bataan Death March survivor in WW II.
After her college days, she worked at the Veterans Hospital in Houston, the Corps of Engineers in Houston, and the Regional Post Office in Dallas and Fort Worth. During her marriage, she was a loving housewife and mother caring for her children in their school and activities and later, her beloved grandchildren. She was proud of her direct lineage to several patriots who served in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. She was a member of the Jane Douglas Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Dames of the Court of Honor. Her special interests were her children, grandchildren, music, dancing, family history, gardening, crafts, and her many friends.
Jean and her husband were members of Lake Highlands United Methodist Church for nearly 60 years. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Dallas Scottish Rite Hospital, The American Cancer Society, or a charity of your choice.
The visitation will be held at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home on Friday, December 1, 2023 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 2:00 pm followed by interment in Hillcrest Memorial Park.