Community and arts advocate, newspaper HR director McDowell dies

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kim McDowell, head of human resources at the Southeast Missourian and longtime community activist, died Friday. She was 58.

Kim McDowell

She was the newspaper contact for many local charitable organizations and was heavily involved in the Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly campaigns. Among her favorite involvements was working to help organize and promote the annual Southeast Missouri Science Fair. Over the years, McDowell served on numerous community boards of directors, including the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, United Way of Southeast Missouri, the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and Old Town Cape.

"She was always a strong supporter of the arts, a strong advocate and always wanting us to encourage all people to be involved in the arts," said Dr. Ann Gifford, chairwoman of the local arts council board. "She was so supportive and stayed on an extra year during the transition when we were looking for a director. She wanted to tie the arts council and the community at-large and include all people. She always had incredibly good ideas, very sound and good to guide us in the practical way of doing business. Her presence will be extremely missed, not just at the arts council, but in the community."

McDowell quietly fought a battle with cancer for two years.

She is survived by her husband, Terry; mother-in-law, Ina JoAnn Hanners McDowell; two sisters, Wendy Kurka Rust and husband Gary Wayne, and Joy Kurka Gilbert and husband Gary Kenneth "Sonny," all of Cape Girardeau.

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