|Carolyn Emma McDowell, a long-time resident of Woodhull, Illinois, died Wednesday the 18th of April in Carbondale, Illinois, where she had relocated in 2011 to be closer to her daughter and son-in-law.
Born August 12, 1918 in Bishop Hill, Illinois, to John Walfred Okerstrom and Hilda Elizabeth Okerstrom, Carolyn overcame a two week coma after being struck by a mail delivery truck when she was five years old to live a long and fruitful life until her death at age 93.
In 1934, at the age of 16, Carolyn graduated from Galva High School. She married Elmer Albert Cathcart in 1936, became a homemaker and went on to have three children, two sons and one daughter. The two divorced in 1943. She met Harvey Elliott McDowell, who had just returned from serving in North Africa, Italy and France in WWII and they traveled via train to marry and honeymoon in Troy, Kansas on May 26, 1947 and were happily married until Harvey's death in March, 1985.
She was an active member of the Woodhull Methodist Church since 1956, and in 1969 joined the United Church of Woodhull and enjoyed the support of her church family for many years. In particular, Harry and Donna Carlson provided her rides to the grocery store, doctors' appointments and church services and much more.
Carolyn was a member and past State President of the Mothers of World War II and a long time member of the American Legion auxiliary.
Carolyn was known for her baking and her skills at textile arts such as weaving, sewing and quilting, a love that she passed on to her daughter, Judy. Her grandchildren looked forward to her visits when she would bring homemade Swedish rusk bread, handmade stuffed animals, and matching flannel pajamas. Carolyn owned several wooden floor looms and made beautiful rag rugs that her family still uses today. Carolyn was an animal lover, nurturing her pet dog Suzie, and many beloved cats for throughout her life, and couldn't resist feeding the neighborhood cats. Carolyn had a great sense of humor, and enjoyed a good joke even through her final weeks.
Carolyn was preceded in death by her parents Hilda and John "Peck" Okerstrom of Galva, Ilinois; her sisters Lenore Berg of Galva, Illinois and Kathryn Bjorklund, of Rolling Meadows, Illinois; her brothers Carl Okerstrom of Eldon, Iowa and John Okerstrom of Galva, Illinois; her husband Harvey McDowell of Woodhull, Illinois and son Leroy Walfred Cathcart of Moline, Illinois.
Survivors include her daughter Judy (Stanley) Aydt of Carbondale, Illinois and son Philip Cathcart of Alton, Missouri. Carolyn was very proud of her seven grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Services are 11:00 am Saturday at the United Church of Woodhull. Burial is in the Woodhull cemetery. Visitation is from 5-7:00 pm Friday, April 20th at Peterson Wallin Knox Funeral Home and those who knew Carolyn are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials may be made to the United Church of Woodhull. Online condolences can be made at www.petersonwallinknox.com.