Tuesday 22 October 2019

Joe celebrates centenary

Heads of state congratulate Kilcurry native Joe on his 100th birthday

Joe Dowdall celebrates his 100th
Joe Dowdall celebrates his 100th
Joe Dowdall now.
Joe Dowdall as a young man

Margaret Roddy

Joe Dowdall, a proud son of Dundalk, recently celebrated his 100th birthday in his adopted homeland of Canada.

Among the many wishing him well on reaching the centenary were President Michael D Higgins and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Joseph Dowdall was born on March 3 1919 to Bernard and Bridgid Dowdall (nee McArdle) Carrickedmund, Kilcurry, Dundalk.

Joe was the 10th child in a family of twelve children: Jimmy, Tom, Kathleen, Gerard, Molly, Paddy, Benny, Bridget, Joe, Lizzie and Arthur and is the last surviving member of his generation.

He worked with his brother Gerard, farming vegetables and delivering door to door called 'Market Gardening', until he emigrated to Canada in May 1949, following in the footsteps of his brother Arthur who had gone out before him.

His Irish love Mary Lennon followed two years later in autumn of 1951. They were married in 1952 and settled in Willowdale, a suburb of Toronto, which is now known as North Youth.

There they raised their family of seven: Bernard, Sheila, Anne, Kathleen, Michael, Maureen and Jim. Joe has seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.

Joe worked for Consumers Gas Company for a time and then in the Works Department for the Borough of North York for 20 years.

Joe and Mary loved camping and fishing. They spent many a memorable weekend and holidays with their children and grandchildren up at Fish Hog Lake. Joe is still a very active member of his community where he plays Euchre each week with a club at his local church.

He was also a very keen bowler, with many a trophy that he and Mary won proudly displayed in his home.

He continues to enjoy playing Bocci Ball with friends and family and 'The Irish' gang when they go for a visit.

After Joe retired aged 68, the couple sold the family home and retired to the town of Port Perry where he currently lives. Sadly, Joe lost his sons Bernie in 1981 and Jim in 2015. His beloved Mary passed away in 2001.

A big party was organised by his children to mark this landmark birthday, which he called his 10X10, and Joe was delighted to received a letter of congratulations from President Michael D Higgins as well as the Presidential cheque. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also sent his congratulations.

Among those who helped him celebrate were his nephews Seamus Lennon and his wife Pauline, and Cyril McKay and his daughter Roisin McKeever, who travelled to Toronto to represent the large Dowdall clan living in Dundalk and surrounds.

The Argus