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Lori Dowie-Reeser passed away Monday, June 3, peacefully and painlessly. Her star brightened the sky just as her life brightened the lives of all she knew. Always cheerful and outgoing, Lori cared for us and loved us. She has been there for us all, even while she faced her own challenges. Her life set a high standard and shining example; that we could all live with more heart, love, and generosity of spirit, even in the most difficult of times.
Lori, the Executive Chef at Iowa Culinary Institute - DMACC for the past 29 years was a third generation family member in a long line of restaurateurs and caterers in the Greater Des Moines area. She literally grew up in the kitchens, cooking under the tutelage of her father. Her vast culinary knowledge and abilities were utilized to educate many of the Des Moines area's finest chefs. "What would Lori do?" has been relied on by former students in kitchens across the country and certainly rescued many dining experiences.
A life-long resident of Urbandale, Lori graduated from Valley High School in 1978. She continued her education at DMACC, earning her Culinary Arts degree in 1984 while graduating with honors. Following graduation, Lori became the corporate executive chef at Kirke-Van Orsdale Insurance, Inc. of Des Moines, eventually moving on to become the executive chef at the Metz Corporation; establishing the Metz Continental Cuisine Restaurant in downtown Des Moines.
In 1986, she returned to DMACC as executive chef and instructor, specializing in international cuisine. She was instrumental in adding the central training jewel to the DMACC Culinary Arts program in 1988, helping add the culinary exchange program between Lyvee Professional Hotelier of St. Etienne, France and DMACC. Since its inception, hundreds of DMACC students have been able to train in the finest restaurants of St. Etienne and many of their chefs have travelled to DMACC every January to lend their expertise to the education of the DMACC students.
Lori's many awards included being honored as one of the Celebrated Chefs of Des Moines and earned a Diplome d' Honneur Confrerie de la marmite or Ambassadrice de la cuisine Francais, the highest honor diploma given by the French, which is awarded to so few chefs that a chef must pass on before the diploma can be awarded to another chef.
Lori is preceded in death by her mother, Kay Kendall; her brother, Jeff Dowie and her dog, Gizmo. She is survived by her husband, Jeff Reeser and dogs, Riley and Macy; her father, Fred (Sandra) Dowie, Sr. of Van Meter; step-father, Bill Kendall of Panora; father-in-law, James (Joyce) Reeser of Franklin, TN; brother, Fred (Julianne) Dowie of Winterset; sister, Lisa Dowie of West Des Moines; brother, Sean (Tammy) of Florida; sister, Kelly (Dave) Donato of Prole; sister, Kimber (Geordy) Damhorst of Iowa City; brother, Kyle of Clive; step-sister, Kelly Zelinsky of Ankeny; brother-in-law, Greg Reeser of Franklin, TN; brother in-law, Todd (Janet) Reeser of Atlanta, GA; sister-in-law, Amy (David) Freese of Brentwood, TN; sister-in-law, Linda Morris-Dowie of Clive; step-brother, Tom (Ellen) Kendall of Verket Kjelas, Norway; step-sister, Sandi (Ron) Rohde of Omaha; and many nieces and nephews who loved to eat at Aunt Yo's.
Lori was a member of Valley Evangelical Free Church and the Frontier Life Group in West Des Moines. A celebration of Lori's life will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 7 at the Iowa Culinary Institute - DMACC, Building 7 in Ankeny.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dale Swift Philanthropic Fund or the Animal Rescue League.
Merle Hay Funeral Home - Des Moines
4400 Merle Hay Road Des Moines, IA 50310
Published in Des Moines Register from June 5 to June 7, 2013