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Mansfield, OH 44903
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John W. McDowell

1938 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
John W. McDowell Obituary
John W. McDowell

MANSFIELD: John William MCDOWELL, 76, of 420 Sherman Place passed this life on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Akron General Medical Center.

Mr. McDowell was born on Monday, March 28, 1938 to the late Leon Lafayette and Agnes Elizabeth Jefferson McDowell in Mansfield and was a life long resident. In 1961 at the age of 23, John began his career by becoming only the fourth African-American police officer in the history of the Mansfield Police Department. Within two years John was assigned to the Juvenile Section of the Detective Bureau, thus becoming the first African-American detective in the history of the Mansfield Police Department. He also served in the Patrol Bureau, working with community relations, and as the police officer assigned to Mansfield City Schools. In 1988, John became the first African-American to retire from the Mansfield Police Department with 27 years of service.

John's lasting contributions to the Mansfield Police Department and to the citizens of Mansfield include his successful work with young people in terms of keeping many of them out of trouble, supervising them in the Salvation Army's after-school recreation program, and serving as a POSITIVE role model for all youth to emulate.

John was a member of the Apostolic Church of Christ. He loved to hunt, often heading to the woods right after work. After his health began declining, he became an avid watcher of westerns on TV, a passion second only to his passion for his wife Emily.

John is survived by his wife of 54 years Emily Roane McDowell; three children, Teresa McDowell, Mansfield, Melvin (Cynthia) McDowell and their children Justin and Brandon, Akron, and Doris (Jeffrey) Ervin and their children Kearra, Courtney, and Jaleel, Akron; one great granddaughter Sheriae Williams; five brothers, Leroy (Rosa), Wayne, and Harrison (Delores), Mansfield, Melvin (Dovie), Akron, and Wyatt (Sherry) McDowell, Louisville, Kentucky; brother-in-law, Lawrence Parsons; numerous nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents his son Alvin; three sisters Doris and Betty McDowell, and Hazel Parsons; and one brother Calvin preceded John in death.

Friends may call Wednesday, in the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church from 10 - 11 a.m. Funeral services will begin at 11:00 AM with Rev. Dr. Johnny Heckard officiating. Interment will be in Mansfield Cemetery.

Online condolences may be left at

Williams Funeral Services is proud to serve the McDowell Family.


Published in the News Journal on Aug. 31, 2014
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