NORMAN — Beverly Harris Dowell, 86, died Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.
Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m., Wednesday, in the Havenbrook Funeral Home chapel, 3401 Havenbrook St. in Norman. Mass of Christian Burial be 2 p.m. Thursday, at St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral at 307 NW 4th St. in Oklahoma City. Entombment will conclude in the Rose Hill Burial Park, 6001 NW Grand Blvd. in Oklahoma City.
Beverly Harris Dowell was the first child born in Houston. She spent most of her childhood in Texas, attending school in both Austin and Laredo. By age eight she spoke both Spanish and English with equal fluency. With the help of her mother, a former math teacher and high school principal, she developed a gift for reading. At more than 500 words per minute, she could read most novels in less than two hours.
She graduated from Stephen’s College in Missouri with an Associate Degree in art. Before her marriage in 1946 to the late Maj. Richard S. Dowell Jr., she had worked briefly as a commercial artist. Being married to an USAF pilot her career took a back seat while she bore and raised four sons and two daughters.
In addition to the responsibilities of a “stay at home mother,” she had the additional responsibility of organizing multiple family relocations; first to Hampton Roads, Va., then to Bambridge, Ga., then to Enid, then to Vacaville, Calif., then to Atwater, Calif., then to Bangor, Maine, then to Winter Park, Fla., then to Miles City, Mont., then to Kansas City, Mo. and upon the Major’s retirement, to Muskogee.
In 1968 she began working for the Veteran’s Administration from which she retired in 1990. Just two months later at age 63, bored with retirement, she went to work for Dowell Properties, a real estate investment company her son Rick Dowell had founded in 1988. As this company grew, her talent in art and design, along with her organizational skills, were critical to the development of the organization. Wearing three hats: “Chief Financial Officer,” design coordinator, and manager of the commercial properties in Norman, she was a busy woman. Her artistic flair can be seen in the lobby of the Midtown Plaza, the modern house design of 514 College, the Clarendon Park Shopping Center, Charleston Apartments, and Bishop’s Landing Apartments in Norman, along with the 15 acre Midtown Plaza Development in downtown Oklahoma City.