John Keith Dowell

Born in Greenville County, SC on May 15, 1955

Departed on January 26, 2021 and resided in Hendersonville, TN

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On Thursday, January 26, 021, John Keith Dowell was called home to be with the Lord. John was 65 years of age with a youthful exuberance. John was the son of the late Robert “Bob” Dowell and Kathryn “Nelle” Dowell. John spent his years on earth befriending, educating, and entertaining all he met. By John’s consideration, if he met you, you were friends indeed. His passion was music: songwriting, playing, singing and trivia.

John is survived by his wife of 30 years, Ronda Raymer Dowell; brother, Robert “Bobby” Dowell; sister, Marsha Dowell (Ronnie); niece, Kimberly Mays (Russell); nephew, Ronald “Chip” Dowell Jr. (Stephanie); 6 great nieces and nephews: Kelsey, Margo, Austin, Wesley, Emma and Carly.

A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date.

27 Comments to John Keith Dowell

  1. Jimmie Davis
    January 30, 2021 3:11 pm

    I knew John as the younger brother of my best friend, Bobby. When we would play and sing in garages in high school, little John always wanted to be a part it. After many years had passed, I saw him as a singer and song writer at a couple of venues. I believe he always wanted to entertain people even if it meant making fun of himself. He could make me smile and feel better. I am certain John is smiling and feeling better now.

    • Robert N. Dowell
      January 30, 2021 5:36 pm

      Jimmie, thanks for the kind words about John. You are one of the very few who remember John before the man he became. Bobby Dowell.

  2. BJ Brandenburg
    January 30, 2021 4:02 pm

    John was hands down the most creative person I ever met. His talents were many and varied. He touched so many lives with his smile, humor, teaching, and especially his music. Nobody Dances Like Eugene Anymore but nobody is a friend like John anymore. I hope that Mary on the half shell forgives John and welcomes him with a giggle. Heaven’s band gained a great guy.
    Ronda my love and prayers are with you for strength and comfort. Thank you for being the love of my friend’s life.

    • Robert N. Dowell
      January 30, 2021 5:42 pm

      BJ, your words described John to a “T”. Being his brother offered me the opportunity watch John’s talents grow. I have posted on FacEBook that perhaps the most requested song John wrote was “Nobody Dances Like Eugene.” “Mary on the Half Shell” was written at the request by one of his fellow teachers, I believe. Thanks for being his friend.

      • BJ Brandenburg
        February 1, 2021 4:49 am

        Bob, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. If I remember correctly, I met you through our employment at Fort Knox. John always spoke so warmly of you, your sister, and her children.

    • Ronda
      February 1, 2021 8:48 pm

      Thanks for your kind words. He is missed greatly.

  3. Dave and Becky Kimbrough
    January 30, 2021 4:13 pm

    John and Ronda have been two of the kindest, brightest people I have had the privilege of getting to know. John always had a kind and thoughtful word any time we got together. Ronda I am so very sorry for your loss. We are sending love your way.

  4. Ann Tyson Sipes
    January 30, 2021 4:36 pm

    Ronda,, I’m so sorry for your loss. I first met John as his school nurse one year at Steven Elementary School at Ft. Knox. He has gone from you too soon. Such a sweet person he was. He was a happy person and we need more like him in this world. May god help bring you peace at this sad time and in the days ahead. Ann and Joe Sipes

    • Robert N. Dowell
      January 30, 2021 5:50 pm

      Ann and Joe, thanks for the kind words about John. I hated to John leave teaching at Fort Knox, but he took on a teaching roll when he and Ronda moved to Tennessee, especially when worked at The Ryman Auditorium. He was in his glory when a film crew came and interviewed about the Ryman’s history. That film is somewhere on the Internet. You probably don’t remember me, but you may remember John’s and my mother, Nelle Dowell. And I took Calculus I & II from Joe at Fort Knox Community College. Have a safe and good 2021. Bob Dowell

    • Ronda
      February 7, 2021 12:05 pm

      Thank you for your kind words.

    • Ronda
      February 7, 2021 8:40 pm

      Thank you. You’re kind words are greatly appreciated.

  5. Robert Aiken
    January 30, 2021 4:50 pm

    The absolute first time I laid eyes on John was in 1989
    My first day at Van Voorhis elementary school on Ft, Knox , Kentucky.
    He was walking down the hall with a straw hat
    warring overall ,a red bandanna hanging from his back pocket and high top tennis shoes. He went past me and
    hello and keep right on his way. Needless to say the thought hit my mind …, what on earth have I gotten into.
    He was the absolute best person. Thank you John
    For being my friend. Love you

    • Bob dowell
      February 7, 2021 9:32 pm

      Bob, I thought I had replied to your comments on John’s obituary. Through the years he would ask me if I remembered you and I always said yes. You may remember I visited Van Voorhis from time to time because of my job. John never separated employees in the schools where he taught. He never put anyone above anyone else except when it was prencipal vs. teacher type issue. If you played music you were his friend. I want to thank you for your friendship with him. He would tell when you called. It was important to him for your support.

  6. Robert N Dowell
    January 30, 2021 5:53 pm

    Bob, thanks so very much for the kind words. I tried to find a connection to you in John’s FaceBook friends to let you know about John. All these years spoke very highly and kindly of you. Thank you very much for being is “Long Time.” Bobby Dowell

  7. Lamoine Cash
    January 30, 2021 6:56 pm

    I worked with John at Ft. Knox for many years, His talents were many & he was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. We used to have so much fun whenever he was around. He brought joy to so many people. He was a wonderful mentor to many students at VanVoorhis. I’m sure he’s entertaining everybody in heaven as I write this. He was a treasured friend, I have so many great memories of his friendship. My deepest sympathy to Ronda & all of his family.

  8. Wanda Nichols
    January 30, 2021 10:40 pm

    I worked with John at the Ryman Auditorium.John was funny,kind caring and such a talented wonderful person.My condolences to your family.

  9. Laurel OBrien Dawson
    January 30, 2021 11:14 pm

    Ronda, I am so sorry for your loss. John was a fine man
    and always fun to be with. One of my favorite teaching memories at Fort Knox was when you and I were paired to
    do K-Tip hours and I was able to watch a sweet blossoming
    romance between you and John. I have always wished we had
    maintained closer ties when you & John left Hardin Co but, of course, that was time prior to easy technology. You and John’s
    family are in my prayers! 🙏

  10. Becky Jaenichen
    January 31, 2021 12:28 am

    I had the good fortune of teaching with John at Van Voorhis Elementary school in Fort Knox for many years.
    He was a delightful “free spirit”, who was chosen to teach gifted and talented children. They were blessed to
    have such a caring, brilliant, good natured, creative and witty educator as a role model. John could think
    “outside the box” and enhanced the thinking of those young students.
    We would have impromptu songfests sitting on the hall floor after students were gone for the day, with John
    on his guitar . He had the ability to lift your spirits and always had a new joke “Up his sleeve”.
    Thirty years ago we also got to attend his and Ronda’s wedding and rejoiced they were wed! (Always
    wondered if their horrific sunburns showed up in their wedding photos).
    John always spoke lovingly of his own parents and family. He was so happy that Ronda’s parents embraced
    him also.
    John was a gifted showman and musician. It was his Ronda who made it possible for him to leave the classroom
    and go on to bigger dreams in Nashville. Every time I see a frog illustration, I think of John, as it was kinda his
    “signature critter. Kermit being his favorite.
    So many happy memories of John and his friendship flood back as I write this. My deepest sympathy Ronda for
    your tremendous loss, and to all of his family and yours. He was definitly “one of a kind” taken to heaven too soon.

  11. Amy and Eric Jones
    January 31, 2021 7:33 pm

    What an amazing guy!!! We loved you from the first time we met you. We loved your jokes, stories and your music. You will be missed my friend. We love you. Amy and Eric Jones

  12. Linda Scott
    February 20, 2021 11:20 am

    Ronda, I was so saddened to read of John’s passing. I’ve missed seeing both of your friendly faces at Publix since I haven’t been there since March of last year due to Covid and Trish’s diagnosis…I didn’t know either one of you very well but I could always count on your smiles and kind words when you came through my line. My prayers are with you and your family~

    • Ronda
      February 26, 2021 5:50 pm

      Thank you for your condolences. John and I always looked for your line at the grocery. When he got to the point he couldn’t come in with me the first question he would ask is “Did you see/talk to Linda”

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