Donald Patrick Dowd, 88, died on Monday May 29 at home after a two-year battle with cancer and a long struggle with dementia. Vera, his wife of 58 years, and his children, Lisa and Stephen, were by his side.
Don was born in Dublin, Ireland on January 21, 1929, the only child of Bridget (nee Flynn) and Matthew Dowd. Living with his grandmother and separated from his parents during World War II, he left Ireland after the war to join them and to work and study in Manchester, England. He studied mechanical engineering at Salford University at night while starting his long career with Simon Engineering in the daytime.
He immigrated to Canada to open their office, moving to Toronto in 1958. Not long after he met Vera, and they married in 1959. Don's career at a number of successor engineering firms and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took the family on a journey to Chicago, Connecticut, back to Toronto and finally to the Princeton area for the last 40 years.
After his retirement, Don became engaged in the community. He greatly enjoyed contributing to Princeton by volunteering his expertise on local traffic and transportation issues and serving on the Executive Board of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization until his energy and attention waned.
A generous and kind man with charm and wit to spare, he had the luck and spirit of the Irish. He had two close calls, surviving a 1980 Amtrak accident and the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. He connected with people with ease and without judgment and had friends from all walks of life. His love of poetry, history, politics and music was deep and self taught. Golf was a treasured pastime.
He is survived by Vera, Lisa and Stephen (Tania), and his grandsons, Campbell, Fraser and Colin. Burial will be in the family plot in Toronto.
The family wishes to thank the caregivers and volunteers of Princeton Hospice and Janet and Nora for their compassionate care in his final weeks and days.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Alzheimer's Association.
Arrangements are under the direction of Mather-Hodge funeral home, Princeton.