Retired MSgt Richard Durden McDowell, USAF, of Pungoteague, passed away Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, at the age of 86. Born May 2, 1937, in Atlanta, he was the son of the late James McDowell and the late Frances F. Thomas. Though he was Georgia born, Texas was always home to Richard, and he later found the Eastern Shore of Virginia to be a close second.
In 1955 Richard graduated from high school and enlisted in the United States Air Force just a few months shy of the start of the Vietnam War. Over the next several years, “Mac” — as he was known to his brothers in arms — focused on leadership, interpretation, and intelligence training, all of which served him well when the U.S. military entered the conflict in South Vietnam. On Sept. 1, 1983, Mac retired, having honorably and faithfully served his country for 28 years.
As a young man, Richard had a need for speed and spent as much time as possible in a racecar. Car racing and nearly three decades in the military yielded to a much tamer lifestyle in his later years, though his spark and sense of humor always remained intact. He loved watching antique and home improvement shows and spent countless spring and summer hours working in his vegetable garden, always sharing the fruits of his labor.
Richard was a dedicated member of Craddockville United Methodist Church and was especially grateful for this church family over the last few years.
Left to cherish his memory are his children, Anisha McCord, of New Braunfels, Texas, Saira McDowell, of Nassawadox, and Timothy A. McDowell, of St. Louis; sister, Carol Lynn Sargent, of Florida; brother, Jim McDowell and his wife, Chris, of Arizona; granddaughter, Jaylee McCord; and last but certainly not least, his Jack Russell Terrier, Toby, who was his loyal companion for many years. In addition to his parents, Richard was predeceased by his son, David J. McDowell, and sister, Eugenia T. Fagan.
A service to celebrate and honor Richard’s life will be held at the Craddockville United Methodist Church on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, at 1 p.m., with the Reverends Carrie and Robert Talbott officiating. Interment, with military honors, will be held at the Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516 or online at https://tinyurl.com/37fkjp28; ESVA Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 1299, Exmore, VA 23350 or online at www.easternshorehabitat.org; or to a local veteran’s organization of choice.
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at
Arrangements are by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.