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Geraldine Dowdell

Geraldine (Geri) Dowdell (age 80) died peacefully on January 14, 2021 at Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Care Center in Urbandale, IA.

Geri was born on October 5, 1940 in Brooklyn, NY to Joseph A. and Margaret M. (Toohill) Parker. A shy, quiet student, Geri enjoyed and excelled at art and math. While attending Brooklyn College, she met and married her husband, Michael A. Dowdell, in 1962. After beginning their family, the couple relocated to Howell, NJ in 1968, where they lived and worked for nearly 50 years.


Known for her penchant to drink tea and her open-door policy for the neighborhood kids, Geri was a loving and engaged full-time mother to her six children: Diane, Katherine, Mike, Marc, Michele, and Alicia. She demonstrated tireless support and encouragement of her children's efforts and attended countless marching band parades, majorette performances, sporting events, and awards ceremonies. In her very limited free time, Geri sketched, did counted cross stitch, and was a voracious reader.

In 1990, Geri began a second career with the Department of Social Services in Monmouth County, NJ, where her natural affinity for teaching contributed greatly to the success of the training unit. The agency became a second home and family for her, until her retirement in 2010.

After her retirement, Geri was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. For several years, she was able to stay home and active with the help of her daughter, Diane. When it became clear that Geri needed more care than she received at home, she moved to Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Care Center in Urbandale, Iowa, under the guardianship of her daughter, Katherine. Geri delighted the staff at Glen Oaks, surprising them with her "New York" accent and direct comments. While living at Glen Oaks, Geri enjoyed extended visits with her children and grandchildren, engaged in activities and conversation with other residents, and often told lengthy anecdotes about her family and her work at the agency.


Geri is survived by her husband, Michael A. Dowdell, Sr.; her six children: Diane Dowdell, Katherine (Mark) Dowdell Hommerding, Michael (America) Dowdell, Jr., Marc (Jennifer) Dowdell, Michele Dowdell, Alicia (Jim) Hayes; and her seven grandchildren: Brianna Dowdell, Jane Hommerding, Vaughn Hommerding, Parker Dowdell, Jake Dowdell, Julia Hayes, and Madeline Hayes.


Due to COVID-19, visitation and funeral services will not be held at this time. Please consider donating or volunteering at your local food bank in memory and honor of Geri. You can find your local food bank here: https://www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank