Michael James McDowell

image of Michael James McDowell

Michael James McDowell

Michael James McDowell, age 53, passed away on August 9, 2019, after a long hard fight from Glioblastoma. Michael was born in Bremerton, WA on October 19, 1965, to Dennis and Linda McDowell and the eldest of three children. His quiet and humble soul took flight, and we are at peace, knowing his spirit is free and at rest.

He was a man of few words whose actions spoke volumes and lived by the motto, “work hard, play hard.” He was a model of what a father should be to his children: doting, sweet, strict, unwavering, and protective. He was a loving and faithful companion as a husband to his sugar-babe, Abigail Navarro McDowell. A devoted man to his children, Ryan James McDowell, and Madeleine Mikel McDowell and grandson Asher James McDowell. He had two siblings, Marianne McDowell-Helmer and Daniel McDowell of Silverdale, WA, and numerous nieces and nephew and extended family.

Michael, although born in Bremerton, WA, spent most of his childhood starting at age 4, in Guam and returned to Poulsbo, WA in middle school. Michael left a big part of his heart in Guam where their family lived the relaxed island life frequenting the beach and enjoying family time. He frequently reminisced about his childhood and expressed how fun it was growing up in Guam. He took his family on vacation there in April 2018 to share his childhood memories.

After graduating from North Kitsap High School, he started working at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as a painter at the age of 19. Michael moved up in Shop 71 Paint Shop and held many positions including apprentice instructor and moved up all the management levels. He achieved many career goals while raising his son Ryan as a single dad. Michael was humble and didn’t boast about his accomplishments, including winning Supervisor of the Year. Action and hard work describe Michael: was always called upon to do the hardest jobs, starting from when he was a young painter until he was a senior manager. Those that worked for him respected his steady and just treatment of all. Michael retired on August 7, 2019 just two days before he passed. He spent 34 years in federal service.

He met the love of his life, Abigail, at work where they worked together on improvement projects. Michael took Abigail to his work Christmas party in 2005 and were inseparable. Six months later they were engaged and were married in 2007. He was a very supportive husband and was very proud of his wife. He supported and encouraged her career growth and moved to Japan in 2015 for her. In doing so, he took a
non-management position in Japan, which allowed him to have quality time with his daughter Mikel.

Michael, Abigail and, Mikel spent 2015 and beginning of 2018 in Japan where they traveled all over; South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and, Cambodia. Michael’s favorite was Siem Reap Cambodia and Chang Mai Thailand. The most memorable Japan experience for Michael was the road trip throughout Japan and experienced Kyoto, Osaka and, Hiroshima. When asked what he loved about Japan the most, it was the quality time he spent with Mikel taking her to swimming lessons, TaeKwon-Do and Kumon and the quality time he spent with Ryan while in Japan for work in 2018. While in Japan, although Ryan and Michael were miles apart, father and son, spoke daily. Michael ensured he was at his desk during his lunch break, knowing that Ryan will be calling him.

His smile, quiet but yet resounding demeanor, and hard work left a lasting impression to many. He drew his strength from his family where they liked to travel, watch football and movies and eat good food. Abigail loved the most about Michael is his simplicity and lovingness towards his family and loyalty to his friends. He enjoyed home improvement projects, tending to Abigail’s dahlias, yard work, watching movies, rooting for the Seahawks or Huskies and BBQing for his family and friends. In the fall he enjoyed going to Seahawks games, and in the winter/spring he looked forward to island-life vacation and enjoyed summer in his home in Tiger Lake.

When asked others, what they remember of him, “The sweetest person I’ve ever known” or “He had a smile that made you smile” or “Mike was the brother growing up that I never had.”

We are in gratitude and inspired by how he led his life. A private and gentle soul, Michael truly believed in family, hard work, loyalty, and love. He accomplished many, but his greatest accomplishment of all is the upbringing of his children: compassionate, kind and hardworking. He discovered his passion for travel with Abigail and wanted his ashes scattered in places he loved most. We all miss him dearly, and we will forever cherish his memory and spirit in our hearts.

The family wishes to thank Michael’s employer and work-family at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for supporting his battle till the end. We are thankful for Abigail’s employer Naval Undersea Warfare Center for supporting her leave of absence as she partnered with Michael in fighting the fight of their lives. We are grateful by the generosity of their previous employer Ship Repair Facility Japan for supporting and moving their family across the world throughout the difficult times. We are humbled and thankful for our friends, family, co-workers, and strangers’ compassion and support until the end.

Celebration of Life service on September 7, 2019, at 4 PM at McDowell Tiger Lake Residence. Contact Abigail if interested 206.354.2057

2 Responses to “Michael James McDowell”

  • Don Bartley says:

    I enjoyed working with and for Mike before my retirement. I respected his ideas and decisions in the painting trade and as was mentioned above that infectious smile. Mike will be sorely missed. But his spirit is free and he will be with all that he encountered throughout his life.

  • Karina Tuazon says:

    A beautiful life well lived.

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