A MESSAGE FROM THE FAMILY

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OBITUARY

George Alfred Dowell

January 27, 1935October 11, 2020
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George Dowell was born Jan. 27, 1935 in Baltimore. Maryland to Alfred and Doretha Dowell, and George was the only child born to the family. His father Alfred worked as a truck driver and a construction worker, while his mother Dorothea was the homemaker. When George was 5 yrs old his parents would divorce. His mother Dorothea would have to find work and was unable to leave George alone, so from that day on he would go to live with his grandparents, who raised him until he was of age.

During those formative years, George attended Woodlawn elementary school, then Catonsville H.S. and graduated from Millford Mill H.S. As a boy, he remembers spending everyday after school in the nearby woods where he would play and read, all by himself. George had always been somewhat of a recluse, and actually enjoyed being alone. He’d keep himself busy, and told me of the time that he had built a fort, where he would go everyday and stay until it was dark. He went on to say that he also built a boat, except that it weighed so much it was very difficult for him to drag it to the water, but he always found a way to get it there. At age twelve, without permission he would take his grandfather’s truck and drive it around. He loved things with wheels. Also at twelve he also got his first job, when he bought a lawn mower and started cutting grass in the neighborhood.

In 1951, George’s grandmother passed away forcing him to go back to live with his mother and her new husband Leo Dusoe, he was 16 at the time. George continued working other jobs for the next two years until he turned 18. As soon as he graduated from H.S. George went into the service, the Army to be particular. He really wanted to go into the Navy but they refused him because he had a blemish on his record for stealing hubcaps for his 1942 Mercury one day while he was playing hookie and he got caught. While in the Army, George met a man by the name of Sandy Cook, he remembered that Sandy had the deepest voice in the world, and when he spoke it was like God was talking to you. Sandy said to George, “ you should get into Cryptic Analysis”. His IQ was very high, so he applied and went to Ft. Devens Mass for schooling, then onto Fairfax, Va. which would become the National Security Agency.

In 1957 the NSA moved to Fort Meade. When his time of duty was up in the Army, he said that he remembers leaving Fort Meade on a Friday as a serviceman and returning on Monday as a civilian government worker on a GS7 level, making $4,025.00 a year, equivalent to a Bachelor's degree. He would go from a GS7 to a 12 in 5 years. He wanted to advance even more because the company was still promoting Grad degrees so he went to Loyola for the business program. He finished in two years going to school at night and working for NSA during the day. He also took Russian while he was there, he said he slept around 2-3 hours a night until he finished. He would work for the NSA for the next 42 years.

In 1963 while attending a dance at a Rec Center, George met a young lady by the name of Katherine Hohenstein. The two talked, or rather should I say, she talked and he listened. He actually said to me, “girls hated me because I had no social skills, I was such an introvert, and she was the first person to ever show me any attention.” Anyway the combination of Kathy talking and George listening worked out well, the two started dating, fell in love, and were married in front of their family and friends on Feb 8, 1964 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. Life was good and about to get a lot better when the couple blessed the earth with the birth of their son Fred, also in 1964, you do the math. And then would follow that up with more blessings with Andrew in ‘66, Liz in ‘67 and round out the family with Chris in 1969.

George worked very hard every day in an extremely stressful situation. I know that he loved his children more than anything, but still he ran the house with strict rules and regulations, as if still in the Army. Unfortunately as life would have it, after 19 years of marriage George and Kathy would decide to separate and eventually divorce, and having the children going to live with their Mom. This would become the hardest thing George ever had to do. He was able to stay as close as possible and was always involved in their lives even as they grew and had families of their own.

A few years later in 1986 through a mutual friend, George met a Sweet Adeline singer by the name of Barbara Bakay. The two shared a lot of things together in life, but their love for music was one of the strongest. They would fall in love and get married in May of 1987. Barb brought to the family four children of her own from a previous marriage in Trisha, Brian, Drew and Matt, and when combined with George’s clan, the eight children were enough to rival even the Brady Bunch.

In time, their combined children would present to George Barbara and Kathy a total of 20 grandchildren with each one holding a special place in their hearts. They are Christian, Sebastian, Gretchen, Ella, Gabby, Mason, Morgan, Zack, Connor, Bridget, Ryan, Christopher, Dylan, Makenzie, Mason, Maddox, Caroline, Meredith, Emerson and Eleanor. And a more beautiful group of offspring you will never find.

When George wasn’t busy Decrypting Communications for NSA, you didn’t hear that from me, or chasing the grandkids around he found the time to do somethings that he enjoyed. As I previously mentioned, music has always been an extremely important part of George’s life. From the time he was 3 years old he began to sing in church, starting with his rendition of ‘Jesus loves me’. He then sang the young adult choir for 20 years. When he wasn’t singing in a church he was sitting on the edge of the kids bed and singing to them while he played the guitar to 500 miles and Thank God I’m a Country Boy. His music career would take off when he started singing with amazing his Barbershop Quartets, then with the New City Singers, then the Heart of MD Chorus and finally singing with a group called, Temporarily Yours. That quartet sang for Princess Diana at the Dept. of Agriculture in DC where she was running a fundraiser, which he says, was the best experience of his life as a singer. In 2005, he quit singing, but he never put down the love of music and always encouraged his children and grandchildren to embrace it as he had. We know that George loved being on stage and performing. He actually said to me that if could live life over again he would be an entertainer, well, George entertained us more than he ever knew. In addition to music, he was an avid coin collector, a gun collector, and he studied the genealogy of his family, back to the 1600’s. He loved cooking, baking, grilling and doing his annual pig roasts.

George was never too much of an athlete however did bowl, and at one time bowled on 7 leagues in 6 nights, and actually rolled a 285 one year. He loved running and during his time at NSA he ran everyday and logged 10,000 miles just for his sanity and health. And of course he was an avid golfer and simply loved the game. But never more than he did during the years he got to play with the family at the Wings of Hope fundraisers in memory of his late wife Barbara.

He loved his pets, over the years, and especially more recently his Papillon, Peter Pan and his Yorkie Tinker Bell. His favorite expression was, shit, shit, shit. His favorite foods were pig brains, sweet breads and crabs. I hope not at the same time, And his favorite place to be was in front of a crowd, where he finds himself today once more as we remember his wonderful life.

But besides all of the names, dates and places that I’ve just mentioned, who is this incredible man that we celebrate today. George Alfred Dowell, with his quirky smile and beautiful eyes that were always magnified through his glasses was somewhat of an enigma. It all depends who you talk to and when you talk to them. George was a simple man with a complex personality. He was strong and yet vulnerable, happy and sometimes grumpy, critical but supportive. He was quiet and reserved and yet wanted nothing more than to be the center of attention. He was the most colorful individual one could ever find. Even with his need to zig when you zagged, he was always someone who would never turn his back on his family or his friends. He worked hard his entire life to provide for those he loved, and to give them the best he possibly could. He simply adored his wife Barb, his children, his step-children, and his 20 grandchildren and lived every day trying to prove it. No one knows the depths of one’s heart except for themselves and their God. Life is a beautiful struggle, and I believe that God created this beautiful life and walked with him every step of the way. I believe too that George fulfilled the purpose for which he was put on this earth and can now look down knowing he did good.

On Oct. 11, George left us, but only physically. His spirit will remain in our hearts and minds for all eternity. I always remind myself and others that no one ever really leaves us as long as we do this… Gather, tell the stories, remember and reminisce. Once we stop doing that they begin to fade. So I say to all of us, let us keep George as close to us as we can for as long as we can. This is the one time when talking about someone is actually a good thing. This is not the end of the story just another chapter, however this one we write by the way we live and the things that we say and do that we’ve learned by watching how our husband, our Dad, our grand dad and our friend George, lived his. I would like to end with something I think George wants us to know, he says…. I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when this day is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering down the ways of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days. I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun of happy memories I leave behind, when this day is done.

“Thank you George, for showing us how we are to live, with our arms out reaching, a smile on our face, wearing our crazy pants and with love in our hearts. You’ve been our inspiration, our role model and our light. We will miss you and love you forever. Amen”

It’s with great sadness, that this life, which was so beautifully lived, came to an end on October 11, 2020. George Alfred Dowell, born January 27, 1935 in Baltimore, Maryland, to parents, Dorothea and Alfred Dowell has gone to be with the Lord. George was the beloved husband of the late Barbara Roseanne (nee Bakay) Kelley Dowell and the cherished father of Frederick (Kathy), Andrew (Lanny), Elizabeth (Kris), and Christopher (Val) Dowell, Patricia Keith (Tim), Brian (Jennifer), Drew (Lindsay) and Matthew Kelley. Loving grandfather of Zachary, Connor, Bridget, Gabrielle, Mason, Morgan, Christian, Sebastian, Gretchen, Ella, Ryan, Christopher, Dylan, Mackenzie, Mason, Maddox, Caroline, Meredith, Emerson, and Eleanor; dear brother-in-law Ronald (Andrea), Stephen, and the late Gerard Bakay (Mary).

Family and friends are invited to gather at Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home at Meadowridge Memorial Park, Inc. 7250 Washington Blvd., Elkridge, MD 21075 (Exit 6 South off Route 100) on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm where a Livestream Celebration of Life Service will be held at Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home on Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 11:00 am. Please feel free to join the livestream through George’s website page at www.garylkaufmanfuneralhome.com or Gary L. Kaufman Funeral Home at Meadowridge’s Facebook page. Interment will be private at Maryland Veteran Cemetery Garrison Forest on October 28, 2020. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations to be made in George’s name to Wings of Hope Events, Inc. PO Box 303, Douglasville, PA 19518; www.wingsofhopeevents.com

Wings of Hope is a nonprofit association, created in memory of Barbara R. Dowell. It was founded by Barbara's oldest son and wife, Brian and Jennifer Kelley. Wings of Hope now has four chapters in four states, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Wings of Hope has featured several years of highly successful (and fun!) Golf Tournaments, Racing for Cancer at Monmouth Racetrack, Wings of Hope Benefit Concert, and Fit for Hope Events. To date WOF has raised over $100,000 for charities, including the V Foundation, The American Cancer Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Pete's Sake Cancer Respite Foundation as well as for local community members battling cancer. Join us in celebrating the lives of all those affected by cancer and be a part of a superb opportunity to stand up to cancer. Your individual participation CAN and WILL make the difference!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all guests are asked to wear a mask and practice social distancing per current public health guidelines. What is your favorite memory of George? To submit a photo, video, or message to George’s collage, please visit www.mem.com/09752093.

  • FAMILY

  • Frederick Dowell (Kathy), Son
  • Andrew Dowell (Lanny), Son
  • Elizabeth Dowell (Kristopher), Daughter
  • Christopher Dowell (Valerie), Son
  • Patricia Keith (Timothy), Daughter
  • Brian Kelley (Jennifer), Son
  • Andrew Kelley (Lindsay), Son
  • Matthew Kelley, Son
  • Also survived by 20 grandchildren

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Services

  • Visitation/Gathering

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020

  • Celebration of Life Service

    Thursday, October 22, 2020

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Memories

George Alfred Dowell

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Lindsay Kelley

October 22, 2020

We always loved visiting pop-pop. This was a fun memory from a brunch at Eggspectations in 2016. Eleanor always loved pop-pop's crazy pants. Miss you, George!

Zachary Dowell

October 21, 2020

Tara Plyler

October 20, 2020

I've known Trish since high school, so I first met George a long time ago, but when I think back to those times hanging out at the house on O'Brecht Road, it seems like George was conspicuously absent. I can't imagine why a group of noisy teenage girls would make him want to hide... :)
My favorite memory is from about 10 or 11 years ago - I stopped by George and Barbara's house with my daughter (now 16) - probably to pick up some Avon supplies. While we were chatting with Barbara, George walked in to the kitchen with their little dog, Tinkerbell, tucked into the front of his shirt. It was adorable - wish I had taken a picture! And that night at bedtime (and for many nights afterwards), my daughter took one of her little stuffed dogs and slept with it tucked into the front of her nightgown - "just like Mr. George with Tinkerbell!"

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Biography

DAD is such a BIG, LITTLE word!!!

Dad’s provide a sense of security and stability! They are our protector and provider of guidance and teachings, no matter how old we are- my dad was all of those things to me. He made a difference in my life, certainly as a small child but more to me as a grown adult. His life, his influences, his energy was completely linked to mine and I now take comfort in that.

What is the measure of a man, a dad? Is it the possessions he owns? The powers he holds? The professional success he’s achieved over the years? I don’t believe it is any of these things. The true measure of a man is how much love he gives, how selflessly he shares, how consistently he lifts up those around him with a kind word, a funny joke, a compliment or a humble ear. This intelligent and intellectual man, full of jokes, always stressed the importance of education and hard work in life to become a great person! By this measure, my Dad was immeasurable.

My dad, for as quiet and introverted as he was, loved to make people laugh as well as make himself stand out in a crowd. In the words of my son-in-law (wow – I haven’t had to say that yet), “What an amazing life lived by a man who’s pants were as fantastic as his personality”! THOSE CRAZY PANTS!!!
He LOVED to wear those pants! The attention he got when he wore them, made is heart SO VERY HAPPY! Each time someone mentioned how wonderful he looked, it was always like he was hearing it for the first time! Boy did it make him grin from ear to ear.

My dad had so many passions in life – whatever the passion, he did it to the fullest of his ability. Whether it was singing (In a chorus or quartet) or running (10 miles a day) in his early years or during his later years - eating carrots (1 lb a day for months – hence his orange hue) , watching the Hallmark Movies ( he has seen everyone at least 20 x each) or following every move that FOX NEWS had on Donald Trump! He wore his Trump hat EVERYWHERE we went and was so proud of it. I was always so worried someone might say something to him and he would give them an earful. Dad had requested a mail ballot. For weeks he would ask me if it had come in the mail yet. EVERYTHING BUT that ballot came in the mail. Finally on the Friday before he died, guess what arrived??? YES THE BALLOT!! HE WAS SO HAPPY – Put it right on top of the important papers, he told me. Who would have thought he wouldn’t ever get to fill it out….. Well dad, I filled it out for you!! I filled in TRUMP for you!!

My dad and I had an “ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN” relationship. And what I mean by that is, growing up, there would be times when we were in contact with each other, and times when we let a lot of time go between visits. I cannot tell you why we let this happen, but, it happened.

I truly believe, that if it weren’t for my sister, Tricia, I would have never had these incredible last 10 years with my dad! When Barb died, 10 years ago, Tricia said to me, “It is now your responsibility to take care of your dad”! And that I did !

He loved all of his children, all 8 of us! No matter the distance, his heart had so much love for all of us!

I take comfort in Knowing that my dad is no longer lonely, no longer longing to breath normally again, no longer needs a walker, that he can finally get a good nights sleep, and can enjoy a tasty meal. That suffering is no longer something he has to endure.

I will cherish all of the wonderful memories … and I will ALWAYS remember

That sparkle in your eye when I got to your house
Your special smile – especially for your furry animals
Your “Daughter Do Lists”
Shopping for you specific grocery needs – never buy generic
Your warm embrace when I left
And - Your good-night kisses when I stayed!

I don’t have the words to express how much I miss you and oh how I long for one more, “See you in a little while”!

Love You,
~ Your Peach

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