Leon McDowell 1930-2017
Mendon - Leon McDowell, age 86, passed away, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City.
A funeral service will be Friday, July 28, 2017, at 10 a.m. at the Mendon Christian Church with Rev. Lanny Lybarger officiating. Burial will be in Newcomer Cemetery in Mendon. Visitation will begin Thursday, July 27, 2017, at 1 p.m. and the family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. at Wright-Baker-Hill Funeral Home in Brookfield.
Memorials to Newcomer Cemetery may be left at the church or mailed to Wright-Baker-Hill Funeral Home, P.O. Box 496, Brookfield, Mo. 64628.
Leon was born September 21, 1930, on a farm near Amoret in Bates County where he attended a one-room school. In 1941, the family moved to a farm near Mendon in Chariton County where he finished High School. He spent eight years working in Kansas City at the Federal Reserve Bank and married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Brown in 1950.
In 1956, the couple and their two children, Steve and Barbara moved back to their 80-acre farm near Mendon. Leon became a partner with Mr. Byron Bridger in the ownership of the Laclede Telephone Exchange in Laclede. He did the line work and Dorothy did the bookkeeping and billing on their kitchen table. Their third child, David, was born in 1962 just as they incorporated the Mendon, Sumner, Rothville, and Laclede exchanges into the Swan Lake Telephone Company. They converted these exchanges to dial in 1962 with an REA loan. They operated Swan Lake from 1962 until 1968 when they sold to Allied Telephone Company. In 1969 they purchased the North Missouri Telephone Company in Lathrop, incorporating that exchange into Lathrop Telephone Company, which they converted to an all push-button automatic system in 1970. They operated this company until 1984 when they sold to Grand River Mutual Telephone Company, officially retiring from the telephone industry, which allowed them to operate different farm acreage in all of there years on the farm.
Leon was a member of the Missouri Telephone Association and was a member of various committees. He was the Association’s president for one term. He was on the advisory committee of Butterfield Homes in Marshall and volunteered there. He was a member of the Mendon Christian Church.
He always had small animals and enjoyed entertaining kindergartners and head start children as well as anyone else who cared to stop by to see his menagerie. He also had a hard time saying “no” when someone asked him to take and abandoned or unwanted animal.
He loved his family and he and Dorothy, each year for 30 years, took grandchildren and great-grandchildren on various summer trips. These included Niagara Falls, an airplane flight to Tampa, Florida, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and so many other points of interest.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Dorothy; three children, Barbara Cashatt and husband, Louie, Steve McDowell and wife, Jean, and David McDowell and companion, Tho; six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Bernice (Coffin) McDowell; two grandsons, Justin and Kyle; and an infant great-granddaughter, Abbie Elizabeth McClelland.