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Chiropractor Ray Dowell, passes away during trip on Oregon coast

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Chiropractor Ray Dowell, passes away during trip on Oregon coast

Ray Dowell

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POSTED July 4, 2012 2:31 a.m.

Dr. Ray Dowell, 77, died on Wednesday, June 27, while on a vacation to the Oregon coast with his wife Jeanette.

A celebration of his life is scheduled at the Northgate Community Church at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 12.

“Ray was a true gentleman in every respect and an exemplary Rotarian and friend,” said Manteca Rotary past president and former principal of Nile Garden School Bill Whiteside.

 “He was a Rotarian with a lot of historical knowledge on club issues,” noted Manteca city attorney and fellow Rotarian John Brinton. “He was a wonderful man who lived by the Rotary Four Way Test.  Character was his hallmark and he will be greatly missed.”

Brinton remembered the year he was president of the Manteca club years ago in 1987-88 when Dowell would revel in the practical jokes and mischief that members often enjoyed.  He said Dowell brought a wooden box to the meeting one Thursday noon – taking the bell and gavel apart and padlocking them in the box as a challenge for the young attorney who was trying to prepare for the meeting.

Dowell was a member of the Manteca Rotary Club for 48 years and served as president in 1970 – 1971.  In 1965 he joined the California Chiropractic Association and served in all the chair position being elevated to regional president in 1972.

He was elected to a state office in chiropractic in 1973 and later went on to become vice president in 1978.  He was appointed to the post of commissioner of examination for the California State Board of Chiropractic Exams.

An experience of a lifetime came in 1982 when he was tapped to join a teaching team and travel to China to work with Chinese doctors.  Dowell toured the country by bus and plane going from village to village teaching the chiropractic technique.  His wife Jeanette said one of his fondest memories was actually walking on the Great Wall of China.

It was in 1943 that Dowell’s family moved from Minnesota in their 1939 Buick and headed west.  As the story goes money was tight and they had to camp alongside the road sleeping on Army cots until they reached San Luis Obispo where his dad had a job waiting with the Southern Pacific Railroad.

The senior Dowells finally took  their family to Tracy in 1946 where Ray graduated from the eighth grade in 1950 from West Park Middle School.

At the age of 13 he found a summer job taking care of the chickens at Pollardville in Stockton saving his earnings to purchase his first electric train set.  He later found work with Manual and Evelyn Costa of Tracy driving their milk truck on a route to and from Tracy and Modesto.  Evelyn Costa was later elected to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

Bailing hay was his next challenge as he got older.  As a trusted employee he was allowed to take the hay truck home on weekends – allowing the young teenager the luxury of a vehicle.

He graduated from Tracy High School in 1954 and left for basic training in the California National Guard at Camp Roberts where he was assigned to the battery artillery unit  serving some eight years.  When he returned home, he went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Tracy and then the Clover Oil Company.

Three days after his marriage to the love his life, Jeanette Tillman, they rented a U-Haul and moved to Rock Island, Illinois where he enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa.  Dowell went to school full-time and worked for Dorhn Transfer Company as a mechanic at night while his bride worked days at an insurance company.

He completed his course work in three years instead of four, graduating in 1962.  With two children, the young couple soon moved to Manteca where Dowell established a chiropractic practice that he operated for 42 years. 

In addition to being a longtime Rotarian, he had joined the Tracy Elks Lodge in 2003 where he became actively involved and served as a trustee for seven years – rekindling many friendships from the past.

He was seen by many as being “always selfless with his family coming first.”  He took great pride in seeing his children and grandchildren grow. He was also a constant source of positive motivation for everyone he touched.

Dowell was an avid fisherman and spent many years at Eagle Lake in the Sierra, bringing sometimes unbelievable fish stories back home to share with his noon Rotary Club.

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