Joan Helen McDowell

Joan Helen McDowell, a loving wife, mother and grandmother of keen intellect and a dry sense of humor, died peacefully at home on Saturday, November 18, 2023. Joan was born in Detroit, MI on December 13, 1941, the daughter of Robert and Isabelle (Tewksbury) Pfaff. She grew up in Nashville, MI, where she graduated from High School in 1960. Joan attended Michigan State University, graduating in 1964 with a bachelor in English.

Joan married the love of her life, Howard Clarence McDowell on January 17, 1986, and the two happily combined their families. Joan owned her own pet store in Lansing and was also a substitute teacher at Waverly High School. After Howard retired from the State of Michigan in 1995, they spent time exploring Alaska before moving to Florida. Along the way, they did a stint volunteering at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Upon their return to Michigan, they sold their home in Lansing and moved to Nashville. They eventually settled in Charlotte in 2006, at which time they enjoyed driving motorhomes from the factory to dealerships for delivery, and vacationing on the way home. Joan was an avid reader and collector of books, and a skilled Poker player, especially Texas Hold ‘Em. She had a talent for quilting, and in recent years volunteer for the Linus Project, making quilts for hospitalized children. Above all, Joan loved her family.

Joan is survived by her husband, Howard McDowell; sons, Eric (Paula) Prinkalns and Alan Prinkalns; step-son, Jeffery McDowell; step-daughter, Patricia (Steve) Johnson; grandchildren, Doug, David, and Kyle Prinkalns; step-grandchildren, Steven McDowell, David (Veronica) Packer, Christopher (Rachel) Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, and Chelsea McDowell; step-great-grandchildren, Whitney McDowell, Annabelle Packer, Roland Packer, Victoria Packer, Vanessa Perez and Nathan Perez, Penelope Johnson, Camille Johnson, Ellie Johnson, and Avah Johnson; brother, David (Judy) Pfaff; and several extended family. She was predeceased by her parents; stepdaughter, Deborah Scarnati; step-son, John McDowell; and step-granddaughter, Tandy McDowell.

Friends are encouraged to support Joan’s family by attending services or sharing memories on her Tribute Page at A Memorial Service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, 2023 at Pray Funeral Home. Visitation will take place from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., prior to the service. Memorial donations may be made in Joan’s memory to a local library of choice or the Eaton Area Senior Center. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.