Joseph McDowell


May 1, 1924 -- Dec. 29, 2009

ATHENA -- Joseph Headly McDowell of Athena, 85, died Dec. 29, 2009, at the Park Manor Rehabilitation Center in Walla Walla.

A funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Monday, at the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home Chapel in Milton-Freewater. Interment will follow at the Athena Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Athena Library in care of the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.

Mr. McDowell was born May 1, 1924, in Athena at the family home to Otis Clifton and Mamie Sheard McDowell. He spent his childhood in Portland and La Grande, where he graduated from high school. He was an avid dancer and entertainer as a child.

Following high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy serving his country during World War II. After his honorable discharge he attended the University of Oregon and later studied art at the Academy Julian in Paris.

He had various careers -- including working for Lamb-Weston, as a commercial artist known for original oil paintings and ornamental plaster work -- but the majority of his career was spent sailing with the Merchant Marine, serving as a purser on numerous vessels. He retired in Athena in 1985.

He was a member of the American Legion and was a great cook and storyteller.

He is survived by a sister, Kathleen M. Shick of Athena; a son, Fred McDowell of Olympia; two granddaughters; a great-granddaughter; a great-grandson and his friend, Patrick Brosnan of Walla Walla.


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