Ann Dowell McGrath

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ann was born November 28, 1934 to the late Henry Jackson Dowell and Mary Mozelle Reed Dowell in Flat River, Missouri.

She is survived by her husband Thomas McGrath, of Tryon, 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, Georgia, 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.

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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 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&squo;s life work also included a deep passion for genealogy. After discovering an old family cemetery in Bedford County, Ky., Ann dedicated the next 20 years to researching her family&squo;s history, tracing her roots back to colonial Virginia and seventeenth-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 home was our home, and from here we went out into the world, with her as our center and anchor. &bsp;

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 2 p.m. at McFarland Funeral Chapel in Tryon, with Ann&squo;s brother, Jack Dowell, officiating. The family will receive friends beginning at 1 p.m.

Ann will be buried next to her parents in St. Francois Memorial Park in Bonne Terre, Mo., on a date yet to be determined.

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

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon.