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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Tampa Bay Times from Oct. 5 to Oct. 6, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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17 entries
October 18, 2018
Dear James and the rest of her family- I just learned of her passing when I called James today to see what she could help me with choices on the election in Florida. I am so sorry, she was so brave and smart and fought it like a champ. I will never forget her bright smile and courage, and her love of the outdoors and birding. She made a positive impact on my life and I will miss her very badly. Love to all her family and her extended family she was the definition of goodness, love and spirit.
Deborah Crawford
October 18, 2018
I have just learned of may Dowdell's passing. I am sad and remember her as a wonderful person who was so positive and caring. My thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones.
Mary Gillard-Martin
October 10, 2018
We will miss Mary. She was always the upbeat one!
October 9, 2018
I go to know Mary through the"Live Strong program at our local YMCA. I was shocked and saddened by her passing. I will always remember her beautiful smile and vivacious personality
Sandy Rossier
October 9, 2018
I'm shocked and so terribly sorry to hear of her passing. I met and had the pleasure of knowing Mary through the Livestrong program at the YMCA. My heartfelt prayers to all her family and friends.
Karin Santamaria
October 7, 2018
Mary was such a lovely, kind and joyful spirit. We will always remember her beautiful smile and generous ways. Love and peace.
Antonia Fasanelli and Joe Gorman
October 7, 2018
Mary was a beautiful soul and I will always remember her bright smile and caring attitude. ❤
Patti Hefner
October 6, 2018
We got to know Mary and James through our friendship with Catherine. Sincere condolences to all.
Judi and Michelle
October 6, 2018
With deepest sympathy in the loss of your loved one. May the God of all comfort make your hearts firm at this difficult time. 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17.
October 6, 2018
When God created Mary He threw away the mold - she was one of a kind - and we marveled at her knowledge of birding and plant life, her culinary talents and her kindness to one and all. May the Lord bless her and ease our hearts but never let us forget her. Our world is not the same. Mary couldn't have had a more caring partner than James. We wish we could be with you today.
Vic and Mary Alice Dowdell
October 6, 2018
May the end of one journey signal the beginning of another. Safe flight, Mary.
Margaret and Buzz Raymond
October 6, 2018
We will miss Mary, especially at the Christmas Bird Count. She always worked so hard to make it a success, it won't be the same without her.
Debbie Grimes
October 5, 2018
Mary is missed by so many of us. We will always remember her passion for and dedication to conservation.
Lucille Lane
October 5, 2018
Remembering Mary's smile and passion for nature. Ronette Snyder and I were walking in Tom Varn Park when a hawk swooped in front of us and landed on a branch as we were talking about Mary and Audubon. The bird stayed on the close branch for some time and an hour later I found a hawk feather, which I gave to Ronette, in memory of her friendship with Mary. Coincidence...I don't think so.
Mary Ellen Urban
October 5, 2018
My sincerest condolences to the (Grover) Dowdell Families in the loss of your loved one, Mary Elizabeth, and pray you find comfort in Psalms 91:2.
October 5, 2018
Our family would like to send our condolences to your family. We understand how hard it is to lose a loved one; we are sadly in your shoes also. But what we realized is that the Bible tells us to Throw your burden upon God himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter. We know that the one true God will always comfort and help us as well as your family. God will never disappoint his loyal servants. We will include your family in our prayers.
Anderson Family
October 5, 2018
A wonderful life, well lived and full of passion and joy for the people and nature around her. She was an inspiration both as a biologist and as a human being. She will be greatly missed.
Joe Murphy
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