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Eugene Early McDowell III

Dr. Eugene Early McDowell III, born March 16, 1939 in Greensboro, NC, died peacefully at his residence in Webster, NC on April 24, 2020. Gene was the son of the late Eugene E. (Mac) and Mildred Bain McDowell of Greensboro, NC. He was preceded in death by his sister Nancy McDowell Newton of Columbus, GA, and daughter Anna McDowell Nash of Raleigh. Dr. McDowell held B.S. (cum laude) and Ph.D. degrees in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.S. degree in Experimental Psychology from DePauw University in Green Castle, Indiana. He was employed as Assistant Professor of Psychology at UNC Greensboro, 1965-69; as Professor and Head of the Psychology Department at Western Carolina University, 1969-82; as Director of the Asheville Graduate Center at UNC Asheville, 1982-97; and again as Professor of Psychology at WCU, 1997-2007. While a gifted teacher, Dr. McDowell’s research and writing interests focused on Death & Dying, Suicidology, and Grief & Bereavement. Many of these activities were conducted in partnership with his academic colleague and dear friend, Dr. Judith Stillion. Dr. McDowell is survived by his wife of 36 years, Suzanne Hill McDowell. He is also survived by five adult children including Julia McDowell Townsend and husband Tony of Sylva, Susan (Betsy) McDowell Cooper and husband Tommy of Candler, Eugene E. (Mac) McDowell IV and wife Sherry of Eden, Kimberly Baker Stewart and husband Ian of Leicester, and Meghan Baker of Asheville. Also surviving are seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Gene’s family and dear friends always knew him to be kind, generous and selfless, always encouraging others to be their best selves. In this spirit of helping others, he served in many volunteer roles in his community. A lifelong UNC Tarheel fan and alumnus, he was also a dedicated supporter of Western Carolina University Catamounts. He was an avid runner competing in and finishing several marathons. In his later running years, he particularly enjoyed his membership in the Cullowhee Running and Social Club and the camaraderie of his fellow runners at the Huntsmen Senior Games in St. George Utah. In lieu of flowers, it is asked that all who wish to honor Gene do so by modeling his greatest qualities of offering kindness, compassion, and encouragement to others. A celebration of his life is planned for a later date. Online condolences can be made online at: appalachianfuneralservices.com

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Gene was one of the kindest people I knew. I worked with him via the NC video network when I was at UNC Charlotte. Gene welcomed me warmly when I came to work at Western Carolina University. After any encounter with Gene I felt better about myself and the world in general. He will certainly be missed. Bil Stahl

Bil Stahl May 3 2020 12:00 AM

We were so saddened to learn of Gene's passing. He was a wonderful man--thoughtful, kind, and genuine to everyone. When Chuck and I were newlyweds and living in the faculty apartments, Dr. McDowell was our next door neighbor. We enjoyed having him as our neighbor. He and Suzanne were especially kind to my mother and father. We know that you will find peace in the knowledge that he led such a purposeful life. Debra and Chuck Pressley Baxter Wood

Debra Pressley Apr 29 2020 12:00 AM

My deepest sympathy and condolences to Suzanne & the rest of the family. Gene has always been kind & generous to Anna & me. I've thoroughly enjoyed our one-on-one conversations and sports chats, such a delight, intelligent & caring person, He was my father-in-law seems forever ago such a great example of how people should live. I will miss you dearly. Please say "hi" to Anna when you see her again!! RIP Gene!! David Nash

David Nash Apr 28 2020 12:00 AM

I was deeply saddened to hear the news. My husband and I always enjoyed being around Gene as his gregariousness and openness was so refreshing. One could not be around Gene without smiling. His smile was contagious. Well done, my good and faithful servant! Peace, Allison (and Frank) Padgett

Allison Padgett Apr 27 2020 12:00 AM

I woke this morning to the heartbreaking news that my former boss and dear friend had passed away. So many memories have flooded my mind today of those 14 years together growing the Asheville Graduate Center. I often told him I knew why he was chosen for that position, as no one could ever have been as kind and diplomatic in leading the delicate job of sharing facilities and programs across NC, but especially the two universities in WNC. Gene never missed an opportunity to speak kindly and generously to whoever crossed his path, no matter their station in life. But more importantly to me was the friendship he offered that literally helped me raise my two boys (3 and 8 when we first started working together). He listened to me, gave much-needed advice, counsel and encouragement that got me through those years. Frankly, though, I did that somewhat for him as well as he shared with me the typical trials of being a parent to the adult and step children that he loved so very much. Because, yes, he certainly knew how to love Suzanne and those kids! Bruce Henderson probably said it best as he likened the Fruit of the Spirit to Gene McDowell. Those attributes certainly do describe Gene! The only thing I didnt like about Gene (and I told him this) was that he was too good for his own good. Wish that was all others disliked in me. Rest In Peace, my dear friend. And, family, live the rest of your days knowing you were loved and that you came from good and precious stock. Blessings, comfort and love to all of you! Love, Jan Scroggs

Jan Scroggs Apr 27 2020 12:00 AM

Meghan Baker & Family, I am so very sorry for your loss. I did not know your Father, but he sounds like a person worth knowing who did very good things with his life. In this time of loss and grief, I want to offer my support, thoughts, and prayers. Steve Duckett

Steve Duckett Apr 27 2020 12:00 AM

Julie, Mac and Betsy I want you to know I dearly love you and wish I were there to give you a great big hug. Your dad was one of a kind and I say that because he was kind and cared for everyone. He and Carl had a lot in common because they both liked to talk. He will be missed. Suzanne, I know what it's like to lose a spouse but somehow with God's help and also friends, you will will get through this . My sympathies are extended to your family. Love, Aunt Betty

Betty deBrosse Apr 27 2020 12:00 AM

A great Human Being. One of the Good Guys. Gene was one of the three pivotal men who made my 50 year journey as a practicing psychologist in Western North Carolina possible. He hired me and welcomed me as a 26 year old brand new PhD to be an assistant professor of psychology at WCU. He was in all ways supportive to my wife, Laura, and me. He was a great role model-- always kind, positive, friendly, happy, and thoughtful. Many, many great memories of Gene. May God bless his family during this time. May we all rejoice for his life! Jerry and Laura Coffey

Jerry and Laura Coffey Apr 27 2020 12:00 AM

Dear Suzanne & family, My thoughts & prayers are with you during this difficult time. I met Gene when I went to work at the Cullowhee Rec Center. He was a faithful member and came even when I'm sure he didn't feel like it. He never gave up. Always smiling and always had kind words. He always stopped by the desk to chat. He will be missed at the Rec Center for certain. Prayers for peace and comfort for the upcoming days.

Christi Cabe Young Apr 27 2020 12:00 AM

Condolences to the Family.

Steve Bryson Apr 26 2020 12:00 AM

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