James Jay McDowell, age 71, of Olivia, MN passed away on May 3, 2021 at Birchwood Cottage in Mankato from the devastating process of Dementia. A private family funeral will be held at Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church in Olivia with Pastor Matt Hausken officiating. Public visitation will be on Monday, May 10 from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the church. Burial will be at a later date at the Silver Lake Cemetery in Lake Park, IA. Memorials are preferred to Cross of Calvary Lutheran Church, Olivia Public Library, and BOLD School Scholarship Fund. Arrangements are with Dirks-Blem Funeral Service of Olivia.

A live stream of the service will be available at the following link on Tuesday, May 11 starting at 11 a.m.: https://my.gather.app/remember/jim-mcdowell

James was born in Spencer, IA on October 13, 1949 to James W. and Genevieve (Ginger) McDowell and grew up in Lake Park, IA. The family moved to Lakefield, MN where he graduated in 1968. Jim went on to Southwest State in Marshall obtaining degrees in Physical Education and Elementary Education. During this time he met a special girl, Elaine Jacobsen and they married on October 19, 1974 in Sioux Valley, MN.

Throughout his career, Jim taught in the school districts of Hills-Beaver Creek, Jackson, Glenville, and Olivia/Bird Island, MN. Jim obtained his Masters and Specialist Degrees from Mankato State University advancing to Elementary Principal at the Glenville and BOLD Schools. Jim retired from BOLD in 2007. He also enjoyed working for Remington Seeds for several fall seasons. Jim was busy in a variety of activities. A Boy Scout leader for many years; son Mike and he went backpacking in the mountain wilderness of the Scout Ranch at Philmont, NM. Jim also attended and supervised many ballgames, plays, concerts, dance recitals, all thanks to his four children and being a principal. He enjoyed fishing, snowmobiling, and hunting pheasants and ducks with his boys.

Special times were playing dominos, enjoying the lake cabin, walking and playing fetch with his dogs. Every evening he would be found in his recliner reading, especially books by Tom Clancy. Family was very important to Jim. He loved his four children but the delight in his life was his nine grandchildren. Unfortunately the slow, devastating loss of memory and function took that joy of family away from him.

Jim received excellent care at Cottagewood and Birchwood Memory Care Facilities in Mankato for the past 4 ½ years. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to the staff at Birchwood Cottage and to St. Croix Hospice, especially to Jim’s primary nurse, Jen.

Jim is survived by his wife of 47 years, Elaine; his four children: Michael (Lisa) of Kandiyohi, Christopher (Sasha) of Moose Lake, Jennifer (JJ) Lurken of Mankato, and Emily (Charlie) Perry of Barnesville; his nine precious grandchildren: Ainsley, McKenna, & Drake McDowell, Jackson & Maya McDowell, Ady & Eli Lurken, and Ellie & Wyatt Perry; his sister, Jill (Lynn) Sorenson; other brothers and sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; step-father, Richard Ziegeldorf; and his devoted and spoiled dogs.

Blessed Be His Memory