James W. Dowell
1937 - 2021
On Monday, May 24, 2021, James William Dowell, 83 years old of Pleasant Prairie, WI died peacefully at Froedtert South Pleasant Prairie after a long battle with heart disease and kidney failure. Jim was a complicated, funny, smart, competitive guy who knew a lot about a variety of subjects and loved to take an opposite opinion, especially with politics.
He was born June 6, 1937, the son of the late James Archie and Lucy Ellen (Ditto) Dowell. He grew up in Peoria, IL where he attended Manuel High School. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern Illinois University in 1978 and served as a radiology tech and medic in the U.S. Air Force from 1954-1964. Jim served overseas at Thule Air Base, Thule Greenland for 11 months from 1959-1960.
In August 1959, he married Mary Elizabeth Barker; they later divorced and on February 27, 1986, he married Linda Cushman in Waukegan, IL.
Jim enjoyed learning and acquiring new skills. After discharge from the Air Force, he used his training in radiology to begin a 28 year career with the Departments of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in Radiology/Imaging departments. In 1965, Jim left the VA Hospital in Tucson, AZ to enter the fledgling field of nuclear medicine at the Omaha VA, where he excelled.
He supervised the Nuclear Medicine Department at the VA Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, and in 1975, he was hired to open up the Nuclear Medicine Department at the North Chicago, IL VA Medical Center. He supervised this department until he retired in 1992. He co-authored several papers on Nuclear Medicine imaging and instrumentation. Jim was proud to be a Charter Member of The Society of Nuclear Medicine. He had certifications as a Registered Technologist in Radiology, Radioisotope Technology and Nuclear Medicine.
Jim greatly enjoyed his career at the VA, which inspired some of his best stories and introduced him to Linda, who worked there as a medical technologist.
Following retirement, Jim began his second career as house husband and "Mr. Mom" while Linda still worked. Since the kids were at school, he got his Real Estate Broker's license and, later, his Real Estate Appraisal license. He worked as a realtor and appraiser in southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois until his 2nd retirement in 2005.
Jim knew how to have fun outdoors. In his younger years he was an excellent athlete. He played basketball and baseball, and had a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals when he was 16. He was a competitive golfer who won several golf tournaments in leagues sponsored by the VA. He coached his daughters' softball teams for many years in McHenry, IL and Kenosha. He, Linda and the kids camped and hiked in the Rocky Mountains and explored the beaches of Florida and Aruba. After Linda retired, she and Jim enjoyed cruises to the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii.
Jim especially loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. In quieter moments, he could be found with a true crime novel in hand and a cat on his lap. He was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan and took pleasure in rooting for the Bears while living in Packerland. He stored up a wealth of knowledge of baseball stats, he could discuss players, their teams and averages from the past 65 years. Jim was a member of the Pleasant Prairie United Methodist Church, a mason and a member of Unity Lodge #367, the Tripoli Shrine and the Kenosha Shrine Club. He loved participating in the Kenosha News Football Poll, which he won three times over the years.
Medical problems from diabetes complicated his later years. Jim and his family deeply appreciated the excellent and compassionate care he received at Froedtert Pleasant Prairie Hospital, especially from Dr. Leena Joshi and Dr. Kevin Fullin.
Survivors include Linda, his wife of 35 years; children: Julie VanDyke of Indianapolis, IN, Suzanne Jordan of Wonder Lake, IL, Laura (Brian Schenning) Larson of Portland, OR, Ben (Gwen) Dowell of Deerfield, IL, Alex (Cristian Peraza) Dowell of Palm Springs, CA, and Tracy (John) Burger of Portland, OR; a sister, Susan (Donald) Theinert; grandchildren, Brandon (Christian) Van Dyke, Bryce Van Dyke, William Dowell, Julia Dowell, and Nicholas Dowell; three great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and in-laws, Susan (Charlie Quimby) Cushman, Marcia (Jay Perkins) Cushman-Perkins, Betsy (Barb Preston) Cushman, and Douglas Cushman.
In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his beloved son, Gary Dowell in 1998; and siblings, Dora Joyce Ruble, Lucy Ellen Krus, Eva Mae Hendricks, and Floyd Alan Dowell.
A memorial service/celebration of life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please send memorial remembrances in Jim's name to Shriner's Hospital for Children, Attn – Dan Winters, 211 N. Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60707 or Safe Harbor Humane Society, 7811 60th Avenue, Kenosha, WI 53142-4010.
Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
Kenosha, WI 53144
Phone: (262) 654-3533
Visit & Sign Jim's Online Memorial Book at: