Thomas McDowell


Thomas A. McDowell, 70, of Defiance, passed away on January 4, 2014, after a long-fought battle with cancer at the CHP Defiance Area In-Patient Hospice Care Center.

He was born on July 18, 1943, to Edwin and Helen (Smith) McDowell in Pike County, Ohio. He married Patsy L. Armstrong on June 26, 1987, who survives in Defiance. He was a member of Defiance Church of the Nazarene and moved to Defiance in 1963 to work at the GM Foundry, retiring in 1988. He was active in the union and various projects like the UAW Park and family day, and helped to get Christy Road paved in the 1970s. He was a home builder, built many homes in the area, and was known by his many friends as a song writer, performer and founder of the Night Train Band.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Patsy L. McDowell of Defiance, Ohio; son, Dwaine (Bonnie) McDowell of Toledo, Ohio; daughter, Vonda (Felix) Tijerina of Defiance; grandsons, Michael (Heather) Tijerina and Tony Tijerina; granddaughter, Alexandra Tijerina; great-grandson, Xavian Tijerina; great-granddaughter, Areyah Tijerina; great-granddaughter, Gabryel Rose Tijerina, whom he named; brothers, Edwin (Alice) McDowell of Defiance, Marvin (Shirley) LeMaster of Defiance and Jimmy LeMaster of Waco, Texas; and sister, Martha (Thomas) Frances of Plain City, Ohio.

He was preceded in death by father, Edwin McDowell; mother, Helen Smith; sisters, Carol Sue McDowell and Marion Thomas; and a brother, Dennis LeMaster.

Visitation will be held at Schaffer Funeral Home Inc., Defiance, Ohio, on Saturday, January 11, 2014, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 11, at 2 p.m. at the Schaffer Funeral Home with Pastor Donald Leonard officiating.

Memorials are suggested to the American Cancer Society and CHP Defiance Area In-Patient Hospice Care Center. Online condolences can be given at

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  • I worked with Tom at GM for many years.  Tom always had a great smile and a gentleness about him.  He was someone you trusted to tell you the truth when it counted.  He was also a good "Union Man".  I always looked forward to visiting with him when we were neighbors at Lake Christie.  He loved his fancy car and could tell stories (yarns) with the best of them!  He will be missed.