Barbara Dowe
Barbara Dowe

Obituary of Barbara C. Dowe

Barbara Cushman Dowe Mom was born in Boston on June 15,1931, the same year the Empire State Building was completed and opened. She was an innocent, petite, blue-eyed beauty & the only child of Ralph & Madeline Cushman. As an infant she didn’t know the great challenges ahead: The U.S. was in the midst of the Dust Bowl Years, The Great Depression was worsening, and food prices and unemployment were going through the roof. Mom was sheltered living in Westwood outside Boston until her family moved to China, Maine. During her childhood she inherited a true love of music. Her father, Ralph Cushman, had been a union musician in the Boston area and played drums for some of the big-name bands of the times and her mother, Madeline Sampson Cushman, had “barnstormed” throughout New England with him before Mom was born. Mom never took up an instrument, but she was an accomplished singer performing at local minstrel shows, weddings, and her church choir. Musicals were her LOVE! On July 22,1951 Mom married Richard E. Dowe of South China, Maine, and was instantly welcomed into the larger family that she had always wished for with 5 “sisters” and 3 “brothers”! Their support was so important when Dad left for military duty in Korea six months later because Mom was pregnant with their daughter, Linda. When Dad returned home the family headed to Tennessee for 2 years before returning to Maine in 1954 where they would settle down, buy a house & raise 4 children: Linda, Sherri, Rhonda & Rick. A good many of the “Mom Years” were a time of struggle but also of a defined character. After all, Mom was a child of the depression. People remembered the hardship of the 30s and the rationing of the war years, and Mom grew up to be “thrifty” and resourceful often adding to the family income by helping in Dad’s electronics business, raising dogs to sell, gardening, sewing and whatever else she could think of. That’s what it took to get by in China, Maine in the 50s with four kids, a mortgage and self-employment that provided a service and relied on people paying their bills. Mom could stretch a dollar! Mom lived by JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.” She - as so many others of her generation - believed in commitment to country, church, and community. There was Eastern Star, American Legion Auxiliary, China Food Pantry, South China Community Church, the list goes on. Even the hardware business that Dad and she started - Dowe’s True Value Hardware - was to fill a need for the community. It was a thriving business up until they retired. Always at Dad’s side at American Legion events, Memorial Day Parades, and numerous patriotic causes, she was committed to service for others. Whatever Mom was involved in, she gave 110% to the cause. Mom died peacefully on May 5, 2020 at the Alzheimer’s Care Center in Gardiner. As cruel as Alzheimer’s is, the lost loves of her life never vanished in the mist of the disease. During her final years she always waited for the arrival of daughter Rhonda who had died in 2002, her husband Richard who passed in 2016, her Mom & best friend, Madeline, and her beloved pet, Kodi. We remaining kids see Mom as focused on service to others but most of all as a life-long caregiver. Mom was 88 when she passed. She left a legacy of love & a challenge to others to continue helping those in need. We will do our best, Mom! Mom was predeceased by her two parents, Madeline & Ralph Cushman; her youngest daughter, Rhonda Dowe, and her husband of 64 years, Richard E. Dowe. Mom is survived by her daughter, Linda Poulin & her husband, Don; her daughter, Sherri Glidden & her fiancé, Bill Gamble; her son, Rick Dowe & his wife, Mary; her four grandchildren, Stacy Westfall and husband Jesse, Jesse Glidden, Tiffany Ranalla and Chelsea Dowe; and her 8 great-grandchildren, Caleb Westfall, Joshua Westfall, Nathan Westfall, Nevaeh Ranalla, Peyton Dowe, Aubrey Ranalla, Liam Dowe, and Adaleigh Glidden. Due to Covid-19 and the current health restrictions, a date for Mom’s service will be determined later. Please stay well, everyone! In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Mom’s church - South China Community Church. She would be very grateful and so would we. Donations should be made out to South China Community Church and mail to Ronald Emery, 267 Alder Park Road, South China, ME 04358. Arrangements are under the care of Direct Cremation of Maine Belfast, ME. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.directcremationofmaine.com
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