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Lottie Frances "Fran" Dowler

1926 - 2019
Lottie Frances "Fran" Dowler Obituary
Lottie Frances (Fran) Dowler was born Jan. 4, 1926, in Greenwood, Mississippi, and passed away May 17, 2019, in Edmonds, Washington, surrounded by her children. She was 93.
Fran and her sisters were raised in a household of strong, independent, hard-working women. This instilled in her the belief that she could accomplish anything with passion and effort. When Fran graduated from high school, she decided her first adventure would be to get a job in Washington, D.C. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would often come over to her small workplace for a game of cards and evening of conversation with Fran's boss. During this time, Fran met her first husband, John Giuchici. They moved to his family's farm in Michigan to start a family. A couple of toddlers did not slow Fran down. She decided it would be fun to learn to fly an airplane. She delighted in buzzing her father-in-law as he tended crops.
By the time she had four small children, she and John moved to Fairbanks. After the addition of a fifth child, the marriage ended, and Fran found herself working two jobs to make ends meet. She then met Donald Dowler, a decorated combat veteran of World War II. They fell in love and married, adding his three children.
In the late 1960s, Fran and Don moved the family to Mississippi, Fran, in her 40s, entered college to become a registered nurse and ultimately graduated near the top of her class. She brought her skills back to Alaska and worked for many years at St. Joseph's Hospital and then at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. She helped deliver many of the current residents of Fairbanks. One night in the ICU, a prominent local judge went into cardiac arrest. Fran single-handedly defibrillated him and saved his life. The judge was so grateful he bought the family a set of flotation jackets for river-boating. This was a perfect gift, because Fran's primary passion was fishing. Fran was dedicated to her hospital and her community. Her name could be found on the wall at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, which recognized the original donors giving money for the construction of the new hospital.
Fran was a gifted seamstress. To earn extra money, she contracted to sew curtains for the new Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Fran worked for weeks in her spare time, flawlessly assembling curtains out of large floral print and industrial-grade fabric in the favorite colors of the '70s: rust orange and avocado green. Fran was also a child of the Great Depression and had a thrifty streak a mile wide. She asked permission from the hospital to keep any leftover fabric to make clothes for her children. This effort garnered predictable reviews from the fashion police at her daughter's middle school. One of Fran's favorite activities was going to garage sales and thrift stores. This hobby echoes across the generations, as she has shared quality time at Value Village with like-minded grandchildren, while less-enlightened children waited in the car. As thrifty as Fran was, she was generous in equal measure. She helped her children get houses, start businesses and attend college. She loaned assistance of all kinds.
Although generous, Fran held all her children and grandchildren to high standards. While she didn't let her kids get away with much, she let her cats get away with everything. Fran adored her cats. Over the decades, she adopted cats out of shelters from Alaska to Missouri and held a special place in her heart for all of them.
After she moved to Missouri in 1977, the highlight of most every summer was to return to Alaska and fish for grayling up the Salcha River with her son John. Fran and Don fished extensively throughout Alaska, from Prince William Sound to many of the lakes and rivers of Interior Alaska.
Winters in Missouri were filled with more fishing. She enjoyed their home in the Missouri hills, feeding wild turkeys and deer in her backyard.
One of Fran's greatest adventures, at 85, was to get behind the wheel of her motorhome, and drive herself and Don nearly 10,000 miles, so that they could fish in Alaska and visit friends and family all along the West coast.
When Don passed away in 2015, Fran moved in with her son John in Alaska, always ready to go fishing.
In 2017, Fran moved to Everett, Washington, near her daughter Lotti, to be closer to resources that we hoped would help mitigate her cognitive decline. Even still, she remained unwaveringly Fran. She continued to look forward to visits from family. She continued to love fishing. She continued to maintain her core beliefs. This was Fran: wife, mom, nurse, seamstress and fisherwoman - a force of nature.
There will be multiple services across the country for this remarkable woman, as one memorial could not possibly cover the scope of her life. To honor Fran, please protect your brain and give your time or resources to one of the many causes that seek to help those challenged by cognitive impairments.
Fran was preceded in death by her parents, Mary and Guy Rickels; sisters, Annie Rickels Crowder and Guylee Rickels Meredith; and Don, her husband of 52 years. Fran is survived by her sister, Nancy Thompson Smith (James); children, Margaret Howe, Lotti Goodwin (Rob), John Giuchici (Dianne), Pete Giuchici, Donald Dowler Jr. (Carla), Mary Giuchici, Jess Dowler (Michelle) and Angela Dowler (Dale); nephews and nieces, James Smith III (Natalie), Tena Gonzalez, Guy Leslie Meredith (Teena), Peggy Meredith Cook (Jimmy), Charles Ray Meredith, Sue Meredith Pettit (Kevin), Mary Ann Crowder, Linda Blaine (George) and Billy Crowder (Alicia); grandchildren, Marcy Quick (Jack), Rhonda Haws (Dan), Bernie Simmons (Dee), Holly Lyman (Randy), Nanette Roholt (Grant), Jennifer Wien (Dave), Warren Giuchici (Bernadette), Brook Gilleland (Jon), JoLee Giuchici (Cameron), Kate Giuchici (Dusten), Stevie Giuchici (Rob), Sean Dowler (Andrea), Anthony Dowler (Trisha), Brittany Dowler, Nicole Richardson (Brandon), Leslie Martin (Brett), Kassandra Dowler and Dawson Verley. Fran also leaves behind many, many great-grandchildren, who hopefully inherited the ability to find bargains and catch the biggest fish.
Published in Daily News-Miner on May 26, 2019
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