Dr. John McDowell, prominent Las Cruces dentist and of the community, passed away at 87 on Feb. 2, 2013. Dr. McDowell was born on Nov. 27, 1925 in Maxwell, N.M. Dr. McDowell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Dental School. He practiced dentistry in Las Cruces from August 1954 until his retirement in 2005. Dr. McDowell truly loved his profession. He logged thousands of hours of post graduation continuing dental education, always learning the newest techniques to ensure top treatment for his patients. He was a student of Dr. L. D. Pankey and The Pankey Institute. Dr. McDowell served his profession as he served his patients, with the utmost respect and hard work. He served the Doña Ana Dental Society in all capacities, including president and convention chair for the New Mexico State Dental Society. He was a member of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration and was a member of the El Paso Dental Study Group from 1961 to his retirement. He was a founding member of the Oral Rehabilitation Seminar of the Southwest. Dr. McDowell gave back to the greater Las Cruces community in many ways. Dr. McDowell was president of the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and the United Way. He was a committed Mason and a very active member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Noble Mystic Shrine ("The Shriners") and the Scottish Rite. Dr. McDowell was a founding owner of Doña Ana Savings & Loan and was vice president, a member of the board of directors and a member of the Loan Committee. Dr. McDowell also served in various functions in support of his children's schools, including as president of the Immaculate Heart of Mary PTA. John was an extraordinarily gifted artist across numerous media, including oil painting, sculpture, wood carving and jewelry making. Many of his works adorn the homes of friends and relatives as a lasting testament to his love, talent and friendship. John was a 50-year Rotarian and was elected a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow, the top Rotary honor. His original honor was bestowed in 1990. Dr. McDowell was an avid tennis player and played in many tournaments under the tutelage of Sally Walton. He founded the Monday Night Tennis League at Lion's Park. The league was subsequently named after him. He is survived by his wife, Jackie McDowell. Jackie taught Spanish at Las Cruces Union High School. Jackie and he were married in 1956. Jackie's honors include being elected Pan American Woman by the international organization, the Alliance of Pan American Round Tables. Jackie and John have three children (John Jr., Stephanie O'Malley and Andrea Whitehead) and six grandchildren (Collin O'Malley, Michal McDowell, Katherine O'Malley, Caroline O'Malley, Michelle Whitehead and Jacqueline Whitehead) and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. Dr. McDowell also leaves behind many close friends from all walks of his life. His closest continued to be his patients in his dental practice, for who he cared so well and created lasting legacies in the beautiful cosmetic dentistry and smiles for each one. Dr. McDowell's family expresses thanks to the many caregivers who helped him in the past months and a special gratitude to his nephew and doctor, Dr. Stefan Schaefer, who was tireless in his devotion to Dr. McDowell both medically and personally. Dr. Schaefer enriched Dr. McDowell's life and ensured only the best care and quality of life for Dr. McDowell. A private burial will take place at Fort Bliss National Cemetery with full military honors. All friends are invited to the celebration of life at La Paz/Graham's Mortuary on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 at 10 a.m.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Feb. 6, 2013