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1176 Main Street
Fairfax, VT 05454
Phone: 802-849-6261
Fax: 802-849-6262
William McDowell

William Downs McDowell

Sunday, February 22nd, 1987 - Monday, December 16th, 2019
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Obituary

William Downs McDowell, 32, was born February 22, 1987 in Burlington, Vermont and passed away December 16, 2019. Will grew up in Georgia, Vermont where he enjoyed a childhood surrounded by a large extended family and the joy of sports with a gang of close friends. Will was a natural born leader; upon learning that the Georgia Middle School did not have a baseball team he enlisted his dad Rick to coach a team, recruited players, and together the community built a field. Will attended high school at B.F.A. St. Albans and then joined the Vermont National Guard, which led him to a thirteen-year career in the Army. Will married Kristin Lim of Honolulu, Hawaii in 2009. A life in the service took Will and Kristin to many places, including Seattle where the couple first met, Colorado where they enjoyed snowboarding, and Alaska where they enjoyed salmon fishing, outdoor adventures, and where they welcomed their greatest joy, their children Luke (3) and Maddie (19 months). Will loved his family, enjoyed his dogs Duke and Marley, and connecting with his siblings Meghan, Scott, Jack, and Kelly.

Will is a decorated veteran of the Global War on Terror, serving four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan totaling 39 months (1,186 days) in some of the most austere operational environments. During this time, Will established himself as a skillful soldier and talented leader who others looked up to. Over the course of his distinguished career, Will received 31 awards and decorations for exceptional performance and meritorious service. These honors include: four Army Commendation Medals;two Army Achievement Medals; two Meritorious Unit Commendations; a National Defense Service Ribbon; two Afghanistan Campaign Medals; two Iraq Campaign Medals; a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and a Combat Infantry Badge and Expert Infantry Badge. Will is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger and Airborne School, earning both the coveted Ranger Tab and Airborne Badge. In 2016, Will was selected to represent U.S. Army Alaska in the annual “Best Ranger Competition.”

During his career, Will served in every Mortarman position from Ammo Bearer, Gunner, and Team Leader to Mortar Platoon Sergeant (forward deployed Afghanistan). He was a consummate professional who possessed a tireless work ethic and sincere care for his soldiers. Will inspired soldiers of all ranks to pursue and achieve greatness. He has positively influenced countless lives throughout his service and his legacy will be forever remembered.

In addition to his wife, Kristin, and two children, Will leaves behind his mother Ginger McDowell (Michele and Greg Boomhower), father Rick McDowell (Diane McDowell) and siblings Meghan McDowell (China), Scott McDowell (Allison), Jack McDowell (Chelsea), Kelly McDowell (Nathan), grandfather, Thomas Hitchcock, nephew Myles and niece Rayo. Will was predeceased by his grandparents Richard and Bib McDowell and June Hitchcock. Will’s surviving great aunts include Theresa, Martha, Agatha, and Betty and his aunts and uncles Mary Kim and Charlie Lavery, Jay and Trisha McDowell, Marsha and Bob Drake, Mark and Kim McDowell, Sandy and Tim Wilmot, Jenny and Jim Bedell, Carol and Ed Salls, Mary and Bob Streeter, father-in-law and mother-in-law Wesley and Corinne Lim of Honolulu, Grandmother-in-law Lucille Ching, brother in law: Jonathan Lim and many, many first cousins.

Will’s service will be held on Friday, December 27 at 11:00 a.m. at the United Church of Underhill, 7 Park Street, Underhill, Vermont for family and friends and a full military honors service will be held in July at the Vermont Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, Vermont. In lieu of flowers, donations in Will’s honor may be made to Warrior Outreach Ranch at http://warrioroutreach.org/services/ .The family also invites you to share your memories by visiting www.awrfh.com
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, December 27th, 2019 | 11:00am
    When
    Friday, December 27th, 2019 11:00am
    Location
    United Church of Underhill
    Address
    7 Park Street
    UNDERHILL, VT 05489
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Will’s service will be held on Friday, December 27 at 11:00 a.m. at the United Church of Underhill, 7 Park Street, Underhill, Vermont for family and friends and a full military honors service will be held in July at the Vermont Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, Vermont.
  • Interment

    Location
    Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery
    Address
    487 Furnace Road
    Randolph Center, VT 05061
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Donations

Donations are being accepted for: Warrior Outreach Ranch.

Condolences

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Private Condolence
DB

Diana Bailey

Posted at 09:06am
I would like to attend the military honors service in July, on behalf of my son, Henry, if that would be acceptable to the family. I spoke with Henry this morning and he would like if I were to attend in his place. I hope you'll consider reaching out to me via deebee2657@gmail.com with the date.
 
K

Kristin Posted at 07:34am

Hi Diana. I sent you an e-mail.
DB

Diana Bailey

Posted at 07:08pm
I am so sorry for your loss McDowell family. Will and my son Kahlil (aka: Henry) played soccer together in elementary school and attended BFA together. Henry joined the Army in 2008 and like Will, became a Ranger and went into Airborne. He recently reached out to me from South Korea to tell me of Will's death which I know he was very sad to learn. I can only imagine the depth of your grief. I wish you strength and courage. With heartfelt sympathies, Diana Bailey
 
K

Kristin Posted at 07:34am

Hi Diana, I sent you an e-mail.
PJ

Pamela Jurkiewicz

Posted at 11:13am
So sorry for your loss Rick, Ginger and siblings. We have fond memories of our boys playing baseball and going to Georgia School together. May all your memories sustain you during this difficult time.
The jurkiewicz family

Brendan Eary

Posted at 02:30pm
It broke my heart to hear the news!! Will was a brother to me growing up, we were near inseparable. Sucks we lost touch as adults but was so proud of how he turned his life around. The memory list runs long, so many too chose from, the many basketball tournaments, soccer games, the sporting events we enjoyed together, running around Laura’s Woods, and everything in between. But my favorite story, was our first sleep over, maybe 1st or 2nd grade, we were getting ready for bed, and he started to get sad, and wanted to go home, so I went and got my
Mom and he asked if we could bring him home, he wasn’t home sick or scared, he wanted to go home cause he missed the cows that were always in his back yard. As we grew older, I made sure to remind him of that often. I feel horrible I couldn’t make it Friday, sorry for your loss McDowell family.
JE

Jim Eary

Posted at 04:04pm
I was devastated when I heard about Willy.I can't talk about specific incidents because there were too many.I was especially excited and proud how he turned his life around and the man he became.He was like a son to Nancy and I
We loved him dearly
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