YARMOUTH — Donald L. McDowell, 79, died May 27.

He was born on June 9, 1934, in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Paul E. and Margaret McDowell. He graduated from Sidell High School in Sidell, Illinois, and earned a degree in accounting from Ohio State University in 1956.

He married Marilyn Fisher of Delaware, Ohio in 1955. They moved to Toledo, Ohio and then Atlanta, where he worked for General Motors in the Chevrolet division. From 1961 to 1974, he worked for the State University System of Florida.

In 1969, he helped turn an abandoned airfield in Miami into a university in three years. Florida International University opened in 1972 with the largest opening day enrollment in the history of higher education. 

In 1980, McDowell and his wife moved to Maine. His work at Maine Medical Center, first as executive vice president and treasurer and later as president, brought him great joy. In particular, he was proud to help create the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. He went on to be the president of MaineHealth, from which he retired in 2001.

He valued his service to the community through his work on numerous boards, including the Greater Portland United Way, Portland Chamber of Commerce, Maine Hospital Association, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Maine Bank and Trust, University of Maine System, Konbit Sante, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, and the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

The couple five children together. An avid baseball fan, he closely followed the St. Louis Cardinals. He enjoyed watching the Portland Sea Dogs and many spring training games in Florida with his wife. He loved his time with his family at their camp on Pleasant Lake in Casco.

He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Paul.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marilyn; daughters, Cathy O’Sheal and Steven, and Carrie Snider and Earl; sons, Don McDowell and Andi, Paul, Larry McDowell and Tracy, and Sean, Tom, McDowell and Diane, of Yarmouth; 13 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

The family would like to thank the staff at Bay Square’s Harbor Program for their care and compassion.

A time of gathering and celebration of his life was held May 29 at Lindquist Funeral Home, Yarmouth. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated May 30 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Yarmouth. A private burial will follow. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to The Don McDowell Memorial Fund for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital Development Office, 22 Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102.

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