Connie Mae (Dowell) Chappell
May 25, 1926 – May 16, 2019
Born May 25, 1926 in Selma, California, she peacefully passed away on May 16, 2019 in Fresno, California.
The daughter of Roland Morehouse Dowell and Sena Elvira Christensen, she was raised in Fresno graduating early from Fresno High School in 1943. For two years after high school she studied Pre-Nursing at Fresno State College, followed by nurses training in the U. S. Cadet Nurse Corps at Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing in Oakland, CA.
Following the end of World War II, she married Douglas Chappell whom she had met at church as an Air Force Lieutenant stationed at the Fresno Fair Grounds. They moved to his hometown of Weldon, NC to reside for several years following their wedding in Fresno. During the Korean War she moved with her husband and children to Southern California and Illinois when he was recalled into service in the U.S. Air Force. After the war, they moved back to Fresno where she resided for sixty-six years.
Connie was always an industrious person whether as a homemaker or in the job market. During WWII as a high school student she helped pick tomatoes due to the shortage of field workers. After graduation she joined the ranks of Rosie the Riveters working as a spot welder in a local aircraft factory. Throughout the years she worked at Chappell Plumbing in NC and in Fresno at Gottschalk’s and J.M. McDonald department stores, Coffee’s clothing store, family-owned Cal Central Plumbing as secretary, and as secretary receptionist and co-participant in property management with her husband at Lassley Development Company. She also volunteered as a play therapist at Valley Children’s Hospital and volunteer aid at Kaiser Hospital.
She was a good athlete in her younger years playing field hockey, basketball, softball and tennis. With her husband, she participated in a bowling league for several years bringing home a high score trophy. Later she became an active golfer enjoying the companionship of her husband and her father on the golf links.
Upon returning to Fresno after the Korean War, and as members of First Baptist Church of Fresno, she and her husband were recruited by the American Baptist Convention, along with several other families, to plant a new church on the east side, East Princeton Baptist Church, where they served for a number of years. In later life, she and her husband served for over 40 years at First Southern Baptist (currently Lifeway Baptist Church).
Throughout her life she was active in church as Deaconess, Sunday School teacher, Vacation Bible School teacher, Women’s Missions Director, Guild Girl’s leader, High School Department leader, Young Married Couples Department director, Senior Department Director, and serving on many committees. Always she served as a musician playing the organ and piano for many years, as well as lending her lovely soprano voice to the choir and as a soloist, best remembered for moving beautiful renditions of “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked” and “Sweet Little Jesus Boy”.
As a homemaker she not only did all the things that were expected like cleaning, laundry and meals and doing it well, but provided a loving, nurturing environment and a haven of safety and peace. Being a wife and mother were what she most identified with and brought her the greatest happiness and sense of accomplishment and success. She loved her family dearly and was so proud of her husband, children and their spouses, and grandchildren. She was a loving help-mate to her husband, doing everything as a team for 58 years.
In later years she wrote of regret in her inability to verbally share her Christian testimony eloquently in the way others could, yet her love for the Lord was deep and was without question eloquently evident in how she lived her life and loved unconditionally all whom she encountered. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Her beautiful smile and warmth will be lovingly remembered and greatly missed by all who knew her, especially her family.
Preceded in death by her parents Roland and Sena Dowell, and brother, Roland Christensen “Chris” Dowell, she leaves behind her three children and their spouses; Cynthia and Roger Zimmerman, Doug and Kim Chappell, Dale and Lurdes Chappell; seven grandchildren and their spouses, and five great grandchildren.
Private burial service will held for the family on Friday at Fresno Memorial Gardens. The public is invited to a Celebration of Life service to be held on Saturday, May 25th at 11:00 A.M. at Lifeway Baptist Church, 4250 W. Bullard Ave, Fresno, CA. A light lunch will follow at the church.
In lieu of flowers or in remembrance of her life, donations may be made to: Lifeway Baptist Church Benevolence Fund, Fresno, CA; Evangel Home of Fresno, CA; Valley Children’s Hospital, Madera, CA
- Roland Morehouse Dowell, Father
- Sena Elvira Dowell, Mother
- Douglas Entwisle Chappell, Husband
- Cynthia Zimmerman, Daughter
- Douglas A. Chappell, Son
- Dale L. Chappell, Son
- Dr. Roland Christensen "Chris" Dowell, Brother
- 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren
- Celebration of Life Saturday, May 25, 2019
Connie Mae (Dowell) Chappell
May 28, 2019
I worked at Evergreen Court where connie lived her last years of life. I used to call her my little angel . cause she would get so mad at me, for having her to take her medication. she would chew them not swallow them. somedays I had to call Cynthia to come and help me. then she would laugh.... I never wanted her to be unhappy or mad. so I would call her my little angel and then she would smile. I loved her so dearly. the house just isn't the same without Connie there...we all miss her dearly.