John “Jack” McDowell, 86, died peacefully on Friday, September 20, 2019 at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home surrounded by his loving family. Jack was born on April 4, 1933 in Fitchburg to the late Joseph F. and Mary Ellen (Connelly) McDowell. He is predeceased by his loving wife Gail F. (Canegallo), his beloved son Michael, and his cherished sister Noreen Kittredge.
He was a graduate of St. Bernard’s High School. Served his country as a Private First Class in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ft. Devens, MA., graduated Fitchburg State University Teacher’s College. He received a Master’s Degree from University of Massachusetts. He began his teaching career in Newton, MA. He was employed by Springfield Public schools as an Industrial Arts teacher, Psychological Examiner, OWL Learning Center and Ludlow Hampden County Jail where he administered the GED. He retired after 37 years.
A communicant of St. Catherine of Siena Church, he was an active member of the YMCA. Jack loved summers in Matunuck, RI with family and friends and winter skiing at Butternut Ski Basin in Great Barrington. He enjoyed vacationing in Florida. He leaves behind his devoted sons Joseph F. McDowell and his wife Joy of Springfield, James P. McDowell, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL and four cherished grandchildren Ryan, Anthony and his fiancée Laura Daoust, Karis and her husband David Brennan, and Kelsey.
He was nicknamed “Action Jackson” by his family, was very proud of his Irish Heritage, is described as a dapper, fun loving guy who is cherished by many; a generous man with a huge heart. Family was always of the utmost importance to Jack. His passing will leave a void in their hearts. May they find comfort in knowing he is reunited with his adored wife Gail, and his beloved son Michael. All will miss his contagious laugh, beaming smile, kind nature and unassuming humor.
Services will be held on Wednesday from 4 – 7 p.m. at Wilbraham Funeral Home, 2551 Boston Rd., Wilbraham. Funeral Mass on Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 1023 Parker St., Springfield. Burial with Military Honors will follow at 1 p.m. at MA Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main St., Agawam. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Dakin Humane Society. PO Box 6307, Springfield, MA 01101-6307 or to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, 110 Cherry St., Holyoke, MA 01040. Jack’s family would like to thank the loving, caring staff at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home for their compassion.