John Richard Dowler

June 21, 1929 ~ June 23, 2021 (age 92)


John Richard Dowler was born to Theodore and Lucy Dowler on June 21, 1929 in a doctor’s office above a hardware store in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. He died two days after his 92nd birthday on June 23, 2021, with his loving wife Lorraine by his side.


John was the fifth of six children born to Theodore and Lucy. The Dowler family would make its way to Warrensburg, Missouri, where John was raised. He served in the Army Air Corps (later the United States Air Force) from 1946-1949, and in the Missouri National Guard for 2 ½ years. John received his Bachelor of Science in Education in 1953 from the then Central Missouri State College, followed by a Masters of Science in Education, also from CMSC, in 1956. He did additional graduate studies through the University of Illinois, Kansas University, Lincoln University, and Stephens College.


John married Lorraine Toepfer on August 5th, 1950. They celebrated 70 years of marriage in August 2020. To this union were born three sons: Michael in 1951, David in 1954, and Timothy in 1959. John taught history and driver education to multiple generations of students in the Eldon R-1 School District from 1953 until his retirement in 1988. He served as Chairman of the Social Studies Department, Curriculum Coordinator, and was the Audio-Visual Director for the Elementary, Junior, and Senior High schools in Eldon R-1. John received the “Outstanding Educator” Award in 1988 from the University of Central Missouri/Missouri State Teachers Association. 


In 1990, John was elected to represent District 1 on the Miller County Commission and served one term. He served many years as president of the local retired teachers organization. John was a longtime member of Eldon United Methodist Church and served over the years as Sunday School teacher, lay leader, usher, and on several committees. John participated in the Honor Flight program in 2015, which takes veterans for a day to Washington, DC.


John became a grandfather in 1984 to Stephanie Marie Dowler, and later in 1995 to Shelby Richard Dowler. He was also a great-grandfather to sisters Kailey and Natalynn Yeager.


Friendly/teasing banter was one of John’s endearing qualities to many friends from school, church, and the community. In later life, he and Lorraine were regulars at the morning coffee gatherings at places such as Maple Street Cafe. 


John was preceded in death by his parents, his older siblings: Mary Sarah, Walter, Emma, and Esther; and his son, David, and daughter-in-law Betty Watkins Dowler.


John is survived by his wife Lorraine, of the home; brother Ted Dowler (Beth) of Springfield, Missouri; brother-in-law Gene Toepfer (Jan) of Alameda, California; sons Michael Dowler (Paula) of Marshfield, Missouri and Tim Dowler (Mark Smith) of Dallas, Texas; grandchildren Stephanie Yeager (Kyle) of Springfield, Missouri and Shelby Dowler (Monica) of Bolivar, Missouri; great-granddaughters Kailey and Natalynn Yeager of Springfield, Missouri, along with a host of nieces and nephews, cousins and good friends.


Visitation will be Sunday, June 27, 2021 from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM at Phillips Funeral Home of Eldon, MO.  Funeral Service will be Monday, June 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Eldon United Methodist Church with Rev. Joan DeBoe officiating.  Burial will follow at Spring Garden Cemetery with Full Military Honors presented.


Memorials in his name are suggested to the Eldon United Methodist Church; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Spring Garden Cemetery.


Arrangements are under the direction and care of Phillips Funeral Home of Eldon, MO. 




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June 27, 2021

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Phillips Funeral Home
5 South Oak St.
Eldon, MO 65026

Funeral Service
June 28, 2021

10:00 AM
Eldon United Methodist Church

Eldon, MO 65026

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