A bittersweet week for the Seattle Lutheran High School community – cheering its basketball team in the state tournament, while mourning longtime athletic director and teacher Bob Dowding. The service and reception to celebrate his life are set for this Sunday afternoon. Here’s the remembrance his loved ones are sharing with the community:
Robert (Bob) Earl Dowding went to his Heavenly home on February 24, 2015, after valiantly battling cancer.
He was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, March 31, 1947, to Gerald and Eva (Rockenbach) Dowding. He attended country schools through 6th grade, after which he attended Palmyra, Nebraska, public schools. He graduated from Palmyra High School where he was active in football, basketball, track, chorus and class plays. Bob attended Sunday School and was confirmed at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Eagle, Nebraska. He attended Concordia Teachers’ College, Seward, Nebraska, where he majored in secondary education and played football.
After graduating from college, Bob taught 24 years in Southern California, 21 of those years at Orange Lutheran High School, Orange, California. He was one of the original five founding staff members. He served as Athletic Director/teacher and in the beginning set up and coached all-new sports programs. Bob then worked for 20 years at Seattle Lutheran High School as Athletic Director/teacher.
In both California [CIF] and Washington [WIAA] , he served on various boards and held different offices at the state, district, and league level. Bob was also selected as Athletic Director of the year at different levels numerous times.
Bob married Marie Ann Vernon July 3, 1970. They had two children, Kent and Mandy. Summers were spent on road trips to the midwest to visit grandparents and other relatives, finding a new route each time. The family spent many hours attending sports events of the children. Bob enjoyed sports, especially his Nebraska Corn Huskers. He would tell people Nebraska was God’s country. And who could forget his Nebraska fight song for his phone ringtone! He continued to remain the farm boy of his youth.
Although Bob was a coach and Athletic Director, he was an educator first and foremost. Bob was a man of Christian character who was looked up to and loved by many. His actions and examples will be a legacy to all the lives he has ever touched. He shared the love of Jesus and instilled in students Christian values.
After the love of his Savior was the love for his family. He was a loving, protective, fun-filled husband, father and grandfather. The role he was proudest of was that of being a grandfather to his three grandsons.
Bob was preceded in death by his mother, Eva, and father, Gerald: he is survived by his wife, Marie: son Kent (Alex), daughter Mandy (Ben): three grandsons; Isaiah, Nick and Thomas: Brothers Donald (Kathy), Ronald (Arlene), Dennis,: Sister Dianne (Jeff): two nephews, five nieces, thirteen grand nieces and nephews.
(Grandson Isaiah is a member of the SLHS team playing in the tournament in Spokane.) Sunday’s services are set for 3 pm at Hope Lutheran Church, 4456 42nd SW, with a reception to follow in the Seattle Lutheran gymnasium, 4100 SW Genesee. The family suggests donations to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, “in memory of Robert Dowding,” and/or donations to The Bob Dowding Fund at SLHS.