OSWEGO — Donald Thomas “Duck” Dowd, 87, a family man who proudly and selflessly served his country, his city and his church, passed away surrounded by his loving family July 10, 2020.
Born June 25, 1933, in Auburn, he was a son of John Sherman Dowd and Rose Knopp Dowd. He moved to Oswego when he was 11 years old and graduated from Oswego High School in 1952. Following graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in Korea where he helped carry out Operation Glory with the 203d Quartermaster Company, for which he was cited for meritorious service as a mortuary technician. Both the Korean and U.S. governments awarded him medals for his sacrifices.
After honorably serving his country, Don attended SUNY Oswego and played varsity basketball for the great coach Max Ziel. He worked part-time at the A&P grocery store and then tapped into his handyman abilities as an employee of the Herbert Darling Construction Company. There, he helped build the water intake tunnel under Lake Ontario for the city of Oswego’s Water Department.
On June 8, 1957, Duck married the love of his life, best friend and confidant, Sarah “Sally” (Wall), marking the beginning of 63 years of love and laughter.
His true calling was helping others, which propelled him into a 34-year career with the Oswego Fire Department. He retired in 1990 and, with his wife, migrated to their Florida home in 1994 as official “snowbirds.”
Duck and his wife quickly became acclimated to their second home in Lakeland, Fla., as they enjoyed making friends, playing cards, golfing, dining, and sharing many laughs with their friends in Schalamar Creek. Although retired, Duck and Sally rarely had idle time and even spent five years as Disney employees, working as restaurant greeters in the Magic Kingdom.
Throughout his life, Duck loved being with family and friends and vacationing together. He and his extended family spent many summers together at a camp on Wellesley Island, having bonfires, fishing, playing cards, and enjoying family meals together. He also loved traveling throughout the world with his wife, taking cruises, touring the United States, and visiting many European countries.
When he wasn’t traveling, Duck had several hobbies, including caning antique chairs, making spicy hot mustard, coming up with off-the-wall sayings, and playing racquetball with friends. He also was an avid cook and loved sharing his special macaroni salad, soups, spaghetti, meatballs and sausage with his lifelong friends — the Cavelliers, Shambos, and Palmitessos — during their monthly luncheons.
At 6’6”, Duck was a giant of a man with a heart to match. He spent countless hours volunteering for various organizations. Locally, he served as a Harborfest volunteer for 27 years and volunteered at the Oswego Hospital. In Lakeland, Fla., he volunteered many years as a security guard for the Sun-in-Fun annual fly-in. He also volunteered at major golf tournaments.
Donald was a life member of the Oswego Elks Lodge. He was also a member of the Golden Agers at St. Joseph’s Church. He previously served as a member and trustee of St. Louis Church and was most recently a parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Minetto and St. Joseph’s Church in Lakeland.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Sarah “Sally” (Wall) Dowd; his son, Donald (Michelle) Dowd II; his daughter, Sally (Michael) McCrobie; daughter-in-law Josephine Dowd; seven grandchildren, Donald Dowd III, Erin (Ben Miller) Dowd, Benjamin Dowd, Matthew (Meghan) McCrobie, Sarah McCrobie, Brian (Haleigh) McCrobie and great-granddaughter Teagan, and Eric (Tiffany Ryan) McCrobie; stepbrother Donald Calaman; sisters-in-law Mary Ann Calaman and Barbara Engler; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
In addition to his parents, Donald was predeceased by one son, Richard Dowd; stepfather Anthony Calaman; brothers John, David, Jerry and Patrick Dowd; one sister, Barbara Annorino; and stepbrothers Thomas and Bernard Calaman.
Calling hours will be held from 2-6 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, at Nelson Funeral Home, 11 W. Albany St. Masks are required and social distancing will be enforced while keeping the building at 25 percent occupancy.
Funeral services will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 16.
Burial will be in St. Peter’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.