Cover photo for Francis Joseph Dowling's Obituary
Francis Joseph Dowling Profile Photo
1935 Francis 2015

Francis Joseph Dowling

March 13, 1935 — October 2, 2015

FRANCIS JOSEPH DOWLING March 13, 1935 - October 2, 2015
Francis Joseph Dowling was born on March 13, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the only child of parents Francis Joseph Dowling Sr. and Emily Patricia Lehner, two loving caring people who surrounded him with that same light of love. The Great Depressions circumstances shaped his early days, but if you heard the few stories he chose to share of his childhood he viewed it as a time of wonder and exploration. When he stayed with his grandmother in New York City she would give him four dollars, a large sum back then, and seven-year-old Fran would get on the subway to Manhattan, spending the day alone in that magnificent city, wandering through museums and libraries until the evening came and it was time to go home. Throughout his life, books were his friends, and history and politics his favorite subjects. But Francis Dowlings life truly began when he came to California at the age of nineteen. He had been hired as the Manager at the Bond Clothing Companys Hollywood store. Soon afterward he met the enduring love of his life, Gaida. He proposed to her on their second date, and married her two months later. Ten months after that their only child, a daughter, Lynn, was born. She would eventually find and marry the love of her life, Greg, thereby giving Fran the son he never had. And then a granddaughter, Heidi, and a grandson, Greg. Followed by granddaughter-in-law Jenny, grandson-in-law Dan, and three great-grandchildren - Kaleb, Andra, and Bodie, who were his greatest delights. He loved to discuss their latest accomplishments, antics, funny quotes, and disarming wisdom. Fran was a true self-made man, starting out with nothing and building a remarkable career through hard work, compassion for others, and a truly brilliant mind. He retired as the Chief Deputy Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health, overseeing four-thousand employees, but had started his career with the L.A. County Bureau of Health Services. He started at the bottom entry level position and began taking every exam for advancement that presented itself. His gifted mind propelled him up the ladder of opportunity, eventually taking Fran to the top of his department. He was eloquent and articulate, admired by many both professionally and personally. After his retirement, he was a consultant for twenty years with Schaefer Ambulance and loved every moment of his work, and every friend he ever worked with. Be it in the workplace, with family, or amongst friends, Fran was unparalleled as the go-to man with the answers. He was gentle and caring, extremely intelligent, did everything with the utmost integrity, was blessed with the most loving spirit, and had a great understanding and compassion for his fellow man. Often giving help to the homeless around downtown L.A., Fran didnt just write a check. Fran approached the man in need on a park bench, oering up a blanket, jacket, or cash for a meal with dignity and the utmost respect. Throughout his entire life he greeted each day with a heart completely open to love and adventure, finding beauty in the simple things. He was married to his beloved Gaida for sixty years, celebrating this milestone on August 6, 2015. Most of his aection was showered upon his family but he had more than enough for everyone he encountered, including the stranger in the street. Fran loved driving the back roads of his beloved America and discovering the small, out of the way places along the byways that made this country great. He loved fishing for hours on a quiet lake, never alone but always with a loved one by his side. And when he couldnt get away he explored exotic locales in his treasured books. Fran always relied on his Heavenly Father to guide him, and the Lord blessed him richly by surrounding him throughout his life with people who truly adored and appreciated him. To have known Fran was to have known a most beautiful man, a kind and gentle spirit, an angel on earth.

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