William James “Jim” McDowell, a well known Petaluma dairyman, died at his home Nov. 10 with his wife Carol always by his side. He was 80 and had celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary last month.
His parents immigrated from Ireland in the 1920s to begin their dairy in west Petaluma where they raised McDowell and his two younger siblings, Joe McDowell and Bessie McDowell-O’Brien. He was a life-long lover of the dairy, with a passion for the cows, the land, the business, the industry and the unique community of family farmers that has remained connected in Petaluma.
If he wasn’t on the ranch, he could be found in town talking to residents. Involved with Western United Dairyman, Toast Masters, The Golf and Country Club, and a founder of the former Bank of Petaluma, he considered Petaluma his “wee bit of Ireland.”
Besides his wife, he is survived by his two sons, Pat and Mike; three grandchildren, Ryan, Shannan and Liam; and four great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Matthew, Benjamin and Jack.
A service to celebrate his life will be held Friday, Nov. 18 at Two Rock Presbyterian Church, 7063 Bodega Avenue, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests sending donations for dementia research to The Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011, or Hospice of Petaluma, 416 Payran Street, Petaluma, CA 94952.