Donald Marvin "Don, Donnie" Vowels, 63, transitioned peacefully on Saturday, March 25, 2017, surrounded by his family.
Don was born in Flaherty. He moved to Louisville in 1974 and worked in the fashion industry. He earned his BA and MA in theology from St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1987 and served as an associate pastor and hospital chaplain until 1993. Don immersed himself in Eastern and Western philosophies, theologies and spiritualities which he incorporated into his counseling, spiritual direction and teaching ministries. He felt honored to help others to enter peacefully into the wholeness of who they are. He ministered at Fox Hollow, in Dr. Louis Heuser's practice, and as a psychotherapist. He graduated with a Master of Science in social work degree and was a licensed clinical social worker in Kentucky, Indiana and Florida. Some additional professional accomplishments include serving as a chaplain for Hosparus, facilitating a breast cancer support group for 17 years, crisis counseling and traveling to Pass Christian, Mississippi, to volunteer as a mental health worker for the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina. He was a co-host for the radio show "The Art of Healthy Living." His guided mediation CD "The Quiet" was released in 2007. He wrote articles on health and spirituality for Norton Healthcare's Get Healthy magazine. In April of 2016, he was interviewed on Metro TVs "Leadership Landscape."
Don was an avid runner, reader, meditator and lifelong learner. In December of 2012, he was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer and underwent treatment. In June of 2014, his cancer reoccurred. Don started journaling about his experience of living with cancer on the Caring Bridge website. His postings became the manuscript for his book: Life is NOW: "Living a Life of Peace in the Midst of Cancer." His book was published days before his death. Proceeds will endow the Life is Now Fund which Don established with the Norton Healthcare Foundation to provide financial support to families and patients of Norton Cancer Institute.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Aloysius Anthony and Frances Celestine Hobbs Vowels; and a great niece.
Don is survived by his siblings: Charlotte Jones, Doris (Lonnie) Lindsey, Phyllis (Bob) Barker, David (Elaine) Vowels, Billy Joe (Judy) Vowels, Norman (Sherry) Vowels, Mary Blanche (Roger) Chism, and Anthony ""Tony"" Vowels; 21 nieces and nephews and two feline nieces and nephews; 41 great-nieces and nephews; and innumerable friends whom he called his ""earthly angels"".
Don will be deeply missed. He wanted to be remembered for being a good man. For those who knew and loved him, he far surpassed this aspiration. His legacy of goodness and compassion will live on through all he touched.
A memorial service celebrating Don's life is at 2:30 p.m Sunday, April 9, hosted by the Earth and Spirit Center, 1920 Newburg Road in Louisville. Parking is available in the lot next to St. Agnes Church. An outdoor reception will follow. A graveside service is at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 15, in St. Martin of Tours Cemetery in Flaherty.
If so moved, donations may be made to Donald M. Vowels Life is Now Memorial Fund through Norton Healthcare Foundation, the Kentucky Humane Society, CaringBridge or the cause of your choice.
Condolences may be expressed at www.Newcomerkentuckiana.com.
Published by The News-Enterprise from Apr. 4 to Apr. 9, 2017.