Mary Elizabeth (Grover) DOWDELL

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DOWDELL, Mary Elizabeth (Grover)

born in Old Lyme, CT, 1952 to Roger Maurice and Sally (Wilson) Grover, passed away on Monday, October 1, 2018. She graduated in 1974 from Southern Connecticut University where she met the first of many mentors in conservation biology.

Upon graduation, Mary homesteaded in Newport, ME, and founded and operated Asylum Glass Studios for 11 years. When she returned to Old Lyme in 1985, she was employed for six years in the office of Roger Tory Peterson. Perhaps as an indication of her avian aptitude, the author and artist counseled her to "do something for the birds." For eight years she was employed by Connecticut Audubon, leading trips and enabling many people to enjoy and learn about birds worldwide.

In 2004 Mary moved to Brooksville, FL, with her mother and husband, James. She retired from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after years of field work with endangered species. Mary served as President of the Hernando Audubon Society for several years. Through her leadership and passion she inspired birders across the region to both enjoy nature and work to protect it.

In addition to her husband, Mary is survived by her brother, William Grover (Ginger) of Rocky Hill, CT; sister, Carol Cerny (Tom) of Grand Blanc, MI; nieces, nephews, and grand-nieces and -nephews. With her ever-present smile and unflagging optimistic outlook, she made and kept many, many friends throughout her life. She will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, Mary wishes donations to be made to Avian Research & Conservation Institute (ARCI), 411 NE 7th St., Gainesville, Florida, 32601. (

A celebration of Mary's life will be held at Tillis Hill Campground, In the Citrus Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest at 3 pm, this Sunday, October 7. An additional service will be held in her home state of Connecticut later this year.
Published in the Tampa Bay Times from Oct. 5 to Oct. 6, 2018
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