Between 5/11/43 and 6/25/22, a lot happened.
Foremost, Shirley would describe herself as a mom, a mother to 4 girls, Jackie Long (John), Carmen Hoskins (Kim), Amy Dowling and Tracey Minnicus (Steve). Mothers are devoted, but Shirley Dowling was singularly focused on caring for her family and especially her third daughter, Amy, who has been perfect and whole in heaven for 20 years now. Her care required tireless, selfless focus, and Mom achieved it. I expect that Amy ran to meet her at the gates early Saturday morning.
A wife for more than 61 years to Edward M Dowling, Mom met Dad at Seeger High School where they were prom king and queen in 1961. Lean times with a young family, Illinois to Indiana and back again, Ed and Shirley worked and made their homes beautiful. Together they grew gardens, built a stunning log home, loved their dogs, travelled a little and enjoyed more comfortable years when their family was grown.
We become the memories we leave behind with the people we love. Memories of Mom include frozen strawberries in Ziploc bags shared from her patch, African violets in little clay pots lining the windowsill over her kitchen sink, peach cobbler made from scratch (the crust was the best part), and the roast beef she cooked on Sunday, just a little over-done. If we are the memories we made, Mom was an immaculate house and a mopped garage floor. She crocheted blankets, doilies, hotpads, and dolls. Berry red playdough smelling of cherries made for her kindergarten Sunday school class, a bible lesson prepared on a flannel board in the church basement, and a plastic rain bonnet worn to scar her teenage daughter, are vivid memories of Mom. Mom was “Get your education” and “Be independent” because she wanted an easier life for her daughters, and she made it happen.
Her life was full-time work while a full-time mom. But, to give the full picture of Shirley Dowling, I must share her sweet disposition, her sense of humor with a mischievous smile, her love of butter pecan ice cream and chicken gizzards, but not together.
Final years of Mom’s life were not what she would have chosen, but she showed grace. Smiles, pokes, and a few kicks made friends of her care givers and fellow residents. Dad lived “in sickness and in health” for the last several years, and I know Mom appreciated him and would want to publicly thank him here for his care and singular devotion. Special thanks are also due to eldest daughter, Jackie, who advocated for Mom and tucked her in with love every night.
And now she will live on in the memories of her husband, sisters, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren who love her and will see her again.
Visitation will be held on Friday, July 1, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. ET at Grady Funeral Home in Williamsport. Funeral services will be there in the chapel on Saturday, July 2, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. with Pastor Ken Pavlik officiating. Interment will follow at Floral Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the West Lebanon Church of the Nazarene.