He was born Jan. 26, 1938, in Cape Girardeau to Robert Lee and Ilda Shaner McDowell.
He attended Fruitland Grade School and graduated from Jackson High School and Southeast Missouri State University with honors. He was an avid debater in school and college. Upon graduation he received the Woodrow Wilson Scholarship to pursue his doctorate degree in economics from Columbia University in New York City. While there, he completed his dissertation on the Little River Drainage District titled the case of "The Swampeast."
He taught at Dartmouth University in Hanover, N.H., Roberts University in Istanbul, Turkey, and others. He returned to the family farm in Jackson and pursued his interest in writing, biblical research and church work. He attended Christ Episcopal Church in Cape Girardeau.
He is survived by two sisters, Mary Ella Morton and Brenda (Johnie) Keene of Jackson; two nephews, Mike Morton and John (Jennifer) Keene; one niece, Sherrie Troxel; and six great-nieces and great-nephews, Matt Morton, Steffan, Alex Anne, Kyleigh and Kristian Troxel and Emilee Keene.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother-in-law, Robert J. Morton; and a brother, Bobby McDowell.
Friends may call 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the chapel of McCombs Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Jackson, and from 10 a.m. until time of service Thursday at Christ Episcopal Church in Cape Girardeau.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at the church, with the Rev. Bob Towner officiating. Inurnment will be at Cape County Memorial Park in Cape Girardeau.
Memorials may take the form of contributions to the American Heart Association or Christ Episcopal Church Food Ministry.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.mccombsfuneralhome.com.