Juanita Ann (Williamson) McDowell, 73, passed away peacefully at home in rural Montello, Wisconsin on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Born December 6, 1943, the daughter of John Albert Williamson and Hope Lorraine (Heames) Williamson, Juanita was raised on the family farm in Montello by her father and mother Fae (Campion) Williamson, who became her beloved mother by marriage to her father following the death of Hope when Juanita was just three years old.
After graduation from Montello High School in 1961, Juanita took a job in Madison at Rural Mutual Insurance Company. She returned to the Montello area to marry the love of her life, Thomas David McDowell of Montello, Wisconsin on August 4, 1962. They worked together in the farming industry throughout their married life, raising four children, while also carrying on a multitude of additional pursuits and interests.
Juanita’s first love was serving the Lord through her daily walk and activities. She was a lifelong member of Buffalo Community Bible Church in rural Montello, where she faithfully served the Lord and shared her faith by serving in many capacities, including Sunday school superintendent, Sunday school teacher, VBS director, Women’s ministry leader and a host of other areas.
Juanita’s lifelong love of the Lord, Scripture, and learning, led her to open her own business, The Colonial Book Shoppe, a Christian-centered bookstore in downtown Portage, Wisconsin from 1976-1984. Juanita’s love of books and learning extended to her later working on a college degree through UW-Superior and UW-Green Bay and becoming the director of the Endeavor Public Library.
On the agricultural side of Juanita’s interests, besides working alongside her husband in the family farming business, she was co-owner of McDowell Fresh Produce and owner of J’s Veggie Patch which sold at various venues including the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Mitchell Street Market in Milwaukee, and Greendale Farmer’s Market. Juanita also served on several boards, including being President of the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, owner and manager of the J’s Veggie Patch Market in Westfield, and manager of the Badgerland Produce Cooperative Auction in Montello.
On her more creative side, Juanita taught cake decorating classes in Portage, was known for her catering abilities, and was an incredible hostess for many events. She served the community as a leader in the Marquette County Homemakers, serving as President for several years and was also a leader in the Marquette County 4-H organization, where she mentored a myriad of youth – teaching them everything from cooking, canning and sewing to vegetable production, photography, and nature appreciation subjects. She actively supported cross-cultural education by leading 4-H interstate youth exchange groups and hosting international students in her home. Juanita loved to travel and had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States with her family as well as on several international excursions. In her 50’s, instead of slowing down, she took on a new and different type of challenge by becoming a licensed commercial truck driver which allowed her to accompany her husband and supplement the family income.
Juanita lived a full life as a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend and will be remembered for her endless kindness, loving heart and thoughtfulness in serving others before herself. She is survived by her loving husband, Thomas McDowell of Montello; her mother, Fae Williamson of Montello; two siblings: Trudy Grinnell of Madison and Jean Williamson of Wisconsin Dells; four children: David McDowell of Port Washington, WI; Barbara (Allan) Day of Beavercreek, OH; Sharon (Gary) Hall of Brandon, SD; and Paul McDowell of Montello; ten grandchildren: Chrystianna (Jeff) Robinson of Woodstock, GA, Danielle (Matthew) Schaefer of Whiteland, IN, Eriksen Day, Francesca Day, Gabriel Day, and Hudson Day of Beavercreek, OH; Grace McDowell, Andrew McDowell, and John McDowell of Montello, WI; and Noah Hall of Brandon, SD; one great-grandchild: Willow Schaefer of Whiteland, IN, with another great-grandchild on the way; and also many other dear cousins, nieces and nephews. Juanita was preceded in death by her father, John Williamson; birth-mother, Hope Williamson; brother, Duane Williamson; and brother-in-law, Wayne Grinnell.
Visitation and funeral services for Juanita will be held on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Buffalo Community Bible Church, Montello, Pastor Ben Larson officiating. Visitation will begin at 12:00 (noon) leading up to the funeral service at 2:00 pm. Burial will immediately follow at Underhill Cemetery, Town of Packwaukee. Following burial will be a time of refreshments for friends and family back in the basement fellowship hall at Buffalo Community Bible Church.
For those wishing to make memorial donations, the family gratefully suggests donations be made to Buffalo Community Bible Church (W4090 14th Rd, Montello, WI 53949).
Please take a moment to view the online guestbook. Send your condolences or share a memory of Juanita with her family & friends.