Dowling remembered for hard work

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Covington County community is mourning the loss of a man who gave back to the community in many ways and was determined to excel in everything he worked toward.

Opp native Jim Dowling, 58, lost his three-year battle with multiple myeloma on Christmas morning, but he’s being remembered for his accomplishments, determination and giving spirit.

Dowling graduated from Opp High School and went on to graduate from the school of architecture at Auburn.

Auburn roommate and now-District Judge Trippy McGuire recalled their time at Auburn together, and said he admired Dowling.

McGuire said he recalled that Dowling was responsible for helping design the Opp Fire station even before he went to college.

“He was a great athlete, very intelligent, very disciplined, and he knew what he wanted, and he did what he had to do to obtain it,” McGuire said. “He was a goal setter and an achiever. Many kids go to college aimlessly, but not Jim, he never had to search for his purpose.”

McGuire recalled that Dowling would stay up all night working on an architecture project.

“They released a movie, ‘Patton’ around 1972 or 1973,” McGuire said. “It showed how Patton made troops go through forced marches where they stayed up 36-48 hours at a time. I used to joke and say, ‘That’s Jim Dowling.’”

When Dowling graduated from Auburn, he got a job as planner for the City of Andalusia to head a city-scale project for the revitalization of downtown.

Dowling’s thesis project was a study on a municipal center and revitalization of downtown Opp.

Dowling and his wife, Kathy, moved to Birmingham after he left Andalusia, where he joined the firm of Renneker-Smith-Kirkwood Architects, in which his first projects included the south exhibition hall of the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center and Canterbury United Methodist Church.

Dowling continued his success by joining the Fort Walton Beach, Fla., firm Kendrick Stokes David and Associates, where he became a partner and eventually president of Kendrick David Dowling.

He served as a member of American Institute of Architects, Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, Fort Walton Beach City Council, and served on the board of trustees at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach, where he designed a new sanctuary and steeple.

“Jim really enjoyed working with churches on projects like these. He loved churches,” said Virginia Dowling, his mother. “He designed the plaza in Opp free of charge as his way to give back to the community.”

He is survived by his wife, Kathy Dyess Dowling; his children, Deidre Dowling Price and James Drew Dowling; his son-in-law, Jonathan A. Price; and his grandchildren, Daina Alivia-Lee and Atticus Holden Price.

He is also survived by his parents, Robert S. and Virginia A. Dowling of Opp; his sisters and brother, Ann (Bill) Hart, Joree (David) Jones, and Robert S. (Lynn) Dowling Jr.; several nieces and nephews and other beloved family.

He was laid to rest at a private graveside service with family on Fri., Dec. 28, 2012. A memorial will be held for family and friends on Sat., Jan. 19, 2013, at 1:30 p.m., at First United Methodist Church in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.