David “Dave” McDowell passed away peacefully on April 2, 2021 at his home in Avondale, Pennsylvania following a heroic and long battle with a progressive, debilitating illness. Born in Roanoke, Virginia on May 30, 1952, to Kenneth E. and Edythe B. McDowell, Dave’s earliest years were spent in Mumbai, India with his family, followed by his elementary through high school years in Elgin, Illinois. Dave later attended Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA, graduating in 1974 with a degree in music as a piano major. A gifted classical pianist, he also studied at the Académie International D'été De Nice in France, ultimately deciding that the life of a concert pianist was not for him. Fortunately, that didn’t stop Dave from continuing to play the piano and share his gift with many.
Dave had an amazing, positive impact on the lives of many people, and will never be forgotten. He will be loved forever by his wife Lin; daughter Kelsey (McDowell) Garza and her husband Drew Garza; brothers Robert N. McDowell, Huntingdon, PA, and K. Michael McDowell, Tuscon, AZ and their respective wives Ruth B. McDowell and Suzanne Matchett McDowell; his sister Susan Leader, Phoenix, AZ ; his sister-in-law Laurie Bloom and her husband David Hodson, Quincy, MA; nieces and nephews, and the many life-long friends he made over his lifetime.
After graduating from Juniata, Dave came to Delaware to teach class piano for DeCaire Piano and Organ in Wilmington, Delaware. It was around this time that he met his soul mate, Linda “Lin” (Bloom) McDowell, when he sold her a piano. From that point on, he began tuning her piano, and as they used to joke, “he’s been tuning her piano ever since”! They married a few years later in 1982, and in 1989, they were thrilled to welcome their daughter, Kelsey, into the world, who has grown into a lovely woman with a fulfilling career and is married to the love of her life, Drew Garza. Dave was devoted to his family and loved being both a father to Kelsey and a husband to Lin.
Dave later managed, demonstrated and sold pianos for Lanning Piano in Wilmington, Delaware, further developing his knowledge and understanding about pianos. While working at both DeCaire and Lanning, he developed his expertise as a piano technician and expert tuner working for private clients, churches and educational institutions. Eventually, he utilized his piano store management experience to become bookkeeper for a local construction company, eventually becoming their CFO during his many years with them.
Ultimately, Dave followed where his heart and spirit led him, and after many hours of training and workshops, became an Expert licensed practitioner of John Barnes Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR), a unique form of massage therapy. Dave became known widely as a wonderful, intuitive, skillful and caring MFR therapist, helping innumerable individuals during his years in practice. He also continued working as a sought-after piano technician.
Dave had a spiritual lens through which he understood and lived his life. He read widely on spiritual topics, with an early focus on Eckhart Tolle, followed by other spiritual masters whose messages resonated with him. According to Eckhart Tolle’s official website, "at the core of Tolle's teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. An essential aspect of this awakening consists in transcending our ego-based state of consciousness." This spiritual awakening and transcendence resided in Dave throughout his life and was at the core of his ability to get through the serious and life-changing impact of his illness.
The family would like to thank all of Dave’s Penn Medicine caregivers for their exemplary commitment to Dave’s care and treatment, with a special thanks to the Penn Medicine Chester County Home Hospice team. Please consider making a donation to the Penn Home Hospice-Chester County Fund in Dave’s name: https://giving.apps.upenn.edu/fund?program=MC&fund=604415.
A private celebration of Dave’s life will be held at a future date.