Donald Edward McDowell

July 5, 1946 – December 15, 2022
In loving memory ~
Our Don passed peacefully at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital with his wife and two daughters by his side. We are grateful for the excellent care he received during his brief stay there.
Don was born in San Francisco, California, and spent a happy childhood in Modesto. As a young man, he worked at his father’s typewriter repair business, perfecting skills that would prove useful in later years. It was during a repair job at a naval base near Oxnard that Don realized his conscientious objection to U.S. involvement in the escalating war in Vietnam and opted to travel north into Canada. He arrived in Vancouver in the autumn of 1967 where, selling ‘Georgia Strait’ newspapers on the street, he met and fell in love at first sight with Dar. After a mere four-day courtship, the two hitchhiked to Big Sur, California, where they were married by a Buddhist monk at a picturesque site “on a log bridge over a waterfall”.
Don and Dar returned to Canada and after a brief stay in Vancouver with Don’s older brother, Paul, moved first to Keremeos and soon after to the Kootenays, to Pass Creek where they were fortunate to purchase a 5-acre parcel of land with the wedding gift they had received from Don’s parents and pursue their artistic passions and counter-culture lifestyle. Their first daughter, Rishia, was born in 1969 in the 12′ x 16′ cabin they had constructed on that homestead.
After a short employment at Celgar, Don began a 35-year career at Gough Electric (Guillevin International), working his way from Warehouseman to Branch Manager. These years afforded Don the luxury of buying a first & then a second home in Robson where he & Dar raised their daughters and hosted no fewer than 18 Rotary International Exchange students over the years that followed. It was through Don’s involvement with the Castlegar Rotary Club that he met many of his closest friends and mentors. Don retired from Guillevin in 2006 but continued involvement with Rotary until, recently, he was awarded an Honorary Lifetime membership in the organization. Don always believed that the Rotary Exchange Program is a powerful tool for building peace and overcoming xenophobia in the world.
Don spent his post-retirement days enjoying and maintaining (along with Dar) their much-loved Robson property and creating many impressive pieces of self-designed, beautifully constructed wooden furniture, evidence of which lives on in the homes of his children and grandchildren. When the care and maintenance of the place became more than the couple could handle, Don and Dar moved to Castlewood Village. It was here where Don lived out his final months, enjoying and appreciating the wonderful staff and all that the facility provided. Castlegar and the Kootenays in general were Don’s true home, even though he never quite fell in love with Canadian winters!
Don is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dar; son, Sean (Theresa); daughters Rishia (Werner) and Ariel (Jason); grandchildren Maya, Elizabeth, Myles and Camille; nieces Nona, Christine and Laura; nephew Anthony; brother-in-law Peter (Trish); and sisters-in-law Donna, Gail and Jina.
Kole Roth of Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services™ has been entrusted with arrangements.
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