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Paul Dowd

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Paul Dowd Obituary
Paul E. Dowd

1925 - 2014 BENNINGTON Paul E. Dowd, 89, a resident of Palm Coast, Fla. since the fall of 2013, and of South Burlington and Bennington, Vt. for the 48 years prior to that, died peacefully at home on Sept. 2, 2014, held in the love and care of his family. Born in Boston, on Feb. 15, 1925, Paul was the son of the late Thomas Dowd and Frances (Fox) Dowd, the youngest son in their family of eight children, and the apple of his Irish mother's eye. He received his early education in Charlestown, and graduated from Commerce High School in Boston with the class of 1943. After working as a shipfitter in the shipyards in Boston, he joined the United States Navy and served his country during World War II in the Pacific theater from 1944-1946. Following the end of the war, he returned to Boston where he met his wife of 64 years, Rita (Facteau) Dowd. He liked to say that she "picked him up" since they first met at a roller rink where he (a novice skater) fell down on the floor in front of her and she offered him a helping hand. They had a spring wedding on Apr. 30, 1950 and soon had their hands full as they raised seven children together. The growing family first lived in Woburn, where he was employed by Globe Union Battery in Medford, for many years, and then Paul transferred with the company to Bennington, Vt. in 1965, where he worked until his retirement in 1987. Paul and Rita moved to South Burlington, Vt. in 1993, where they made their home with their daughter Ellen her husband, Leigh and their family. They took frequent walks around their neighborhood, always hand-in-hand, and enjoyed greeting everyone they met. They also loved watching the birds that visited the feeders in their yard, and Paul said that they became "snowbirds" themselves when they started spending their winters in Florida, enjoying twenty-four warm, sunny winters of well-earned retirement. Over the years, Paul delighted in sharing his pride in his "successful family" and in spending time with them. Family gatherings featured intergenerational games of Scrabble and dominoes -- he'd teach anyone who didn't know how to play the latter. A consummate storyteller, Paul would strike up conversation with just about anyone, opening with a twinkle in his eye and the question, "So what's your story?", and he loved to laugh. He also loved to read and to watch old westerns, and he gloried in all that nature had to offer. He tended his vegetable gardens with care and ventured out to pick strawberries and blueberries each summer. When autumn arrived, he headed for the nearest apple orchard, sure to come home with enough for a pie and then plenty to spare. Toward the end of his life, Paul remarked with gratitude, "I've had a good ride," and he'd often remind others, "Don't miss the flavor of each day." Indeed, he strived to find joy and flavor until the very end, even growing out his beard in support of his beloved Red Sox during their exciting 2013 season. Soon after their World Series victory, Paul had a win of his own when his health rallied after a stay at the Vermont Respite Home to the point where he needed to move on to another place. He told his family he'd like to have one more adventure, and he set his sights on sunny Florida. Honoring his wishes, his daughter Paula and her husband Larry opened their Palm Coast home to him and Rita, while his daughter Linda moved to Florida, as well, to live with them and act as Paul's primary caregiver. They lived together for the past ten months, during which time Paul and Rita enjoyed visits from all of their children and several grandchildren. They also got to know neighbors, and even hosted a 64th wedding anniversary party with their local family and neighborhood guests. Paul's survivors include his wife of 64 years, Rita Delia Dowd of Palm Coast, Fla. His children; Pamela Dowd Drolet (David) of Palm Coast, Fla.; Paula Dowd Coletti (Larry) of Palm Coast, Fla.; Ernest Paul Dowd (Katherine) of Brattleboro, Vt.; Linda Dowd Lambert of Palm Coast, Fla.; Ellen Dowd Sweet (Leigh) of South Burlington, Vt.; Celeste Dowd O'Malley of Brattleboro, Vt.; and Susan Dowd Ellingwood (Mark) of Hancock, N.H. He leaves 12 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Paul also leaves several nieces, nephews, and other friends. He was predeceased by his beloved granddaughter, Molly McNeil Dowd in 2014, and by his brothers John, Christopher, Albert, Thomas, Leo, and his sisters Frances and Patricia. The Dowd family would like to offer very special thanks to the kind and caring staff of The Vermont Respite House in Williston, Vt. In lieu of flowers, gifts in Paul's honor may be given to the Vermont Respite House, 99 Allen Brook Lane, Williston, VT or to a Vermont organization near and dear to his granddaughter Molly's heart that also speaks to his own love of apple and berry picking, Windham County Farm to School, online or by mail to Post Oil Solutions, P.O. Box 431, Townshend, VT 05353. MEMORIAL SERVICES: A memorial service was held on September 8, 2014 in Palm Coast, Fla. Paul's family has also planned a memorial mass in honor of his life, which will be celebrated at St. John Vianney Church, 160 Hinesburg Road, South Burlington, VT on Friday September 19, 2014 at 11 a.m. "May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand."
Published in Bennington Banner on Sept. 13, 2014
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