Leonard "Sandy" L. McDowell

November 16, 1940March 2, 2018

Leonard Lee (Sandy) McDowell, 77, of Pekin (formerly of Bartonville) passed away at 12:38PM on Friday, March 2, 2018 at his residence in Pekin. He was born on November 16, 1940 to Edward A. McDowell and Grace (Leonard) McDowell. He was the youngest of four siblings including brother James A. McDowell and sisters Betty McDowell and Mildred (McDowell) Clark. He married Alberta Heitzman on August 22, 1986 in Peoria, IL. She survives. Also surviving are sons Gregory L. McDowell and David (Emily) W. McDowell both of Bartonville, IL; step-daughters Melonie (Steve) J. Cline of Canton, IL and Kim (Todd) R. Hagen of Iron Mountain, MI; and step-son Alfred (Anne) R. Warner III of Henderson, NV; Eleven grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Pebbyl McDowell of Washington, IL; his beloved adopted dog Max; and several nieces and nephews. He graduated from Canton High School in 1958 and took some college courses at Canton Community (Spoon River) College. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother James A. McDowell, and sisters Betty McDowell and Mildred Clark. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, serving as a Machinist Mate Second Class on the destroyer USS Gainard (DD706) on active duty from October 1958 to May of 1961, then serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve until October 1964. He was active in the USS Gainard veterans group. After his service in the Navy, he worked at Canton Automotive Parts and Machine as a machinist for eight years total, working full time and then continuing to work part-time on nights and weekends after he was hired full time at Caterpillar. He then worked at Caterpillar from 1965 until his retirement in 1995. He started as a machinist apprentice and held various job titles working in the tool room, then becoming Foreman, General Foreman, Factory Superintendent of Building X Assembly and he eventually worked his way up to Superintendent of Manufacturing for the East Peoria facility without a college degree, which is probably a feat that will not be accomplished again in this day and age. He was selected to travel to Japan and China in the 1980’s to help them set up plants to manufacture specific Caterpillar equipment. He retired in 1995 and due to his mechanical skills and aptitude, he was asked to come back and work for the Global Mining division in Field Technical Support to go to jobsites and help troubleshoot equipment that the engineers and maintenance workers could not get operational. He also owned and operated McDowell Excavating, installing wells, building foundations, roads and septic systems in and around the Peoria area. He liked to duck and pheasant hunt, go fishing, shoot his numerous guns, and play with and work on his bulldozers and backhoes in his spare time when he wasn’t spending time with his family. He was a member of the American Legion Post 452 in Brimfield, IL and the Masonic Lodge of Canton, IL. Graveside services will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 10:30 AM at Swan Lake Memory Gardens in Peoria. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, or the Wounded Warrior Project. Davison-Fulton Funeral Home in Bartonville is assisting the family. You may create an online condolence at


  • Edward A. McDowell, Father
  • Grace (Leonard) McDowell, Mother
  • Alberta (Heitzman) McDowell, Wife
  • Gregory L. McDowell, Son
  • David W. and Emily McDowell, Son
  • Melonie J. and Steve Cline, Step-Daughter
  • Kim R. and Todd Hagen, Step-Daughter
  • Alfred R. and Anne Warner III, Step-Son
  • ~ Eleven Grandchildren
  • ~ Several Great- Grandchildren
  • James A. McDowell, Brother
  • Betty McDowell, Sister
  • Mildred (McDowell) Clark, Sister
  • Pebbyl McDowell, Sister-in-law
  • ~ Several Nieces and Nephews
  • ~ Max ~ His Beloved Adopted Dog
  • Sandy was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, James A. McDowell; and his sisters, Betty McDowell and Mildred Clark.

  • the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association or the Wounded Warrior Project


  • Graveside Service Saturday, March 10, 2018

Leonard "Sandy" L. McDowell

have a memory or condolence to add?

Larry Wright

March 9, 2018

So sorry to hear of Sandy’s passing. He was a great friend and coworker during our years together at Caterpillar. I have fond memories of traveling with him to China for the technology transfer. He was a gentle giant who will be missed greatly. Our sincere sympathy to his entire family. Sorry we cannot attend his service due to travel plans.
Larry & Marian Wright

Elaine (Jones) Murphy

March 7, 2018

McDowell Family, so sorry to hear of Sandys passing.Remembering seeing him when he ,Jim and wives made a trip up to Campbells Island for a get together.Also, Brother Ralph Jones enjoyed thè phon e conversation in Jan. Ed McDowell and my Mom were sis and brothers. Again,sorry for your loss.Elaine (Jones) Murphy

Mike & Beth Kolowski

March 7, 2018

Sandy was a great Guy!!! He did a lot of backhoe work for our group at Eden Lake. Sandy told it like it was with no sugar coating! He asked me to get in and run his backhoe when he was here working, needless to say I was not as smooth as he was. He just said” run it for a few hours and you will have it down”. He will greatly be missed.

Mike & Beth Kolowski

Lorenda Spilker

March 7, 2018

I remember Sandy from growing up in Lewistown and his family from those years. His sister-in-law Pebble all great friends. My husband worked at Caterpillar and remembers him from there. Our deepest sympathy to the entire family. Lorenda (Schnarr) and Alvin Spilker.

Bobbie Bell

March 6, 2018

From the moment I met you, I knew you were a one in a million. My grandpa's "twin" as I liked to say... Your behavior, words, actions and love was just like my grandpa's and I think that's why I fell so in love with you. I felt a closeness with you for those reasons and after taking you to your last doctor's appointment on Monday I knew our time together would be short... I knew then, that it was my duty to make sure you were comfortable and taken care of to the best of my ability. I'm thankful I was able to be there for you during the last week and tell you that everything was going to be ok and you were very much loved and surrounded by a lot of great people. It's not the same without you giving us ladies a hard time or stopping by to see what's cooking. I hope you are now resting peacefully, free from pain and tiredness. Love you and miss you so very much "Grandpa"!

Marlene Youle

March 5, 2018

Prayers for your family in the loss of Sandy. He was well liked by the people he worked around in Bldg. X.