Ann Dowell McGrath

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ann Dowell McGrath

Ann Dowell McGrath, 74, passed away Saturday, July 25, 2009, surrounded by family and friends at the Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. Ann was born Nov. 28, 1934, to the late Henry Jackson Dowell and Mary Mozelle Reed Dowell in Flat River, Mo.

She is survived by her husband, Thomas McGrath, of Tryon, N.C.; sons, Christopher Powers and wife Janet Maris Gilbert of Minneapolis, Minn., John Powers and wife Jeanne of Hendersonville, N.C., and Earl Powers and wife Holly of Annapolis, Md. She is also survived by her brother, Jack Dowell, of Hammond, La., and her five grandchildren, Sean, Shannon, Megan, Gerogia and Alan.

Ann graduated from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., in 1956 with a degree in physical education. She worked as a physical education instructor in the St. Louis area until starting a family. In 1959 she married John W. Powers with whom she had three children, Christopher, John and Earl. They lived in St. Louis, Mo., until moving to Miami, Fla., in 1969. While raising three active boys, Ann also devoted her energy to a variety of benevolent causes, most notably the League of Woman Voters, Another Mother for Peace and Pentland Hall of Dade County, where she worked one-on-one with troubled girls.

In 1981, Ann married Thomas McGrath. After discovering the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ann and Tom moved from Miami to Tryon, N.C., in 1999. Ann cherished her adopted mountain community, where she became involved with several groups, including the Tryon Garden Club, Women Interested in the Spiritual Enlightenment (WISE), the Polk County Democratic Party and, most recently, Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she mentored children and helped organize events. Apart from her charitable endeavors, Ann's life work also included a deep passion for genealogy. After discovering an old family cemetery in Bedford County, Kentucky, Ann dedicated the next 20 years to researching her family's history, tracing her roots back to colonial Virginia and 17th century England. Ann was committed to providing guidance, friendship and giving generously of her time and attention to young people. She was a loving and wise mother who raised three sons into remarkable men and loved their wives like her own daughters. She was a devoted and loving wife who enjoyed a marriage few can only dream of. She was an adoring grandmother with unending love for her grandchildren. She was a kind, thoughtful and wise woman with an infinite capacity for compassion and forgiveness, always inspiring, always nurturing. Her was our home, and from her we went out into the world, with her as our center and anchor.

A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 30, at McFarland Funeral Chapel in Tryon, with Ann's brother, Jack Dowell, officiating. The family received friends beginning at 1 p.m. Ann was buried next to her parents in St. Francois Memorial Park in Bonne Terre, Mo., on Saturday, Aug. 22.

Memorials may be made to: Friends of Harmon Field, P.O. Box 44, Lynn, N.C. 28750.

An online guest register is available at www.mcfarland McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon, N.C. To visit this guest book Online, go to