Ronald Dale Dowell, 84, of Colfax, passed away 2:45 a.m. Monday (Nov. 6, 2017) at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria.

His funeral will be 6 p.m. Friday at Duffy-Pils Memorial Home, Colfax. Visitation will be 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at the memorial home. Cremation rites will be accorded following the service. Inurnment will be at a later date at Mason City Cemetery, Mason City. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 207 S. Prospect Road, No. 1, Bloomington, IL 61704, or the Illinois School for the Deaf, 125 S. Webster Ave., Jacksonville, IL 62650.

Ronald was born June 15, 1933, at home in Mason City, the son of Vernon and Bina Davis Dowell. He grew up in the Mason City area, graduating from Mason City High School in 1951. Ron married Virginia Dennis in 1953. Together they had a son, Dennis.

Ron pursued a degree in education, receiving his bachelor of science in education from Western Illinois University in 1955. He served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958 stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. In 1963, Ronald earned his master of science in education from Northern Illinois University. Ron married Barbara Packer on April 17, 1970, in Lake County. Together they had a son, Ryan.

He began his teaching career of 25 years as a physical education teacher and coach in Grayslake Elementary District 46, later serving as principal and assistant superintendent until his retirement from education in 1979. He then moved to Colfax to pursue a career in the commodities industry with his brother, Ray, owning and operating R&R Commodities. He served as councilman for the Colfax Village Board; he worked for The Center for Deafness in LeRoy; and served on the Ridgeview School District board of education.

Ron is survived by two sons; Dennis (Eva) Dowell, Mundelein, and Ryan (Beth) Dowell, Bloomington; two stepdaughters; Debra O’Connell, Bloomington, and Dawn O’Connell, Lake Villa; and a son-in-law, Craig Cozza, Tacoma, Wash.; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; one brother, Reggie (Norma Jean) Dowell, Greenview; one sister, Linda Miller, Ashland; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ronald was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Bina Dowell; one brother, Ravonne Dowell; his wife, Barbara Dowell; one daughter, Karen Cozza; and former wife, Virginia Dowell.

Ron devoted his life to his family, his students and the communities he served. He touched so many lives including countless students as a teacher, coach and administrator; colleagues and family members. Ron was actively involved in 4-H with his children and grandchildren and the Octavia Park District.

Ronald was a member of the National Education Association and the McLean County Retired Teachers Association. Ron enjoyed staying physically fit, including daily bicycle rides and weekly water aerobics at the YMCA, gardening, watching the Cubs and spending time with his family. He will be greatly missed by many.

A guest registry to leave condolences to the family is available at