Dowse ‘would drop anything she was doing to help anyone’
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent March 31, 2013 10:07PM
Susan Dowse | Submitted photo
Updated: May 2, 2013 6:01AM
A Troy-Crossroads Elementary School educator made such a huge difference in the lives she served, the Shorewood community is raising money to build an outdoor learning center in her name. Plans are under way for a series of fundraisers.
Before becoming the Shorewood school’s principal, Sue Dowse of Joliet had taught preschool through fourth grade, received an award of excellence from the board of education and championed hands-on science experiences for younger students. Even after becoming an administrator, Sue always empathized with the teachers.
“She would drop anything she was doing to help anyone. She was just that kind of person,” said June Ulbrich, a physical education teacher. “Her door was always open to use if we had a suggestion or a concern. We always felt comfortable talking to her. She would listen to us, no matter what.”
Sue also gave her time and expertise to other community organizations. She belonged to Christ Episcopal Church in Joliet and later to St. Edwards Episcopal Church, also in Joliet, where she served on the altar guild, taught Sunday school and mentored the youth. Sue held officer positions for the Joliet Grade School Band and Joliet Moose 300, and she was president elect of the Shorewood Kiwanis Club. Sue’s generosity stemmed from her faith and caring heart. Joy was her trademark.
“She was always very happy,” her husband, Robert, said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, she had a smile on her face.”
Sue’s daughter, Megan Dowse of Joliet, said her mother, who received a master’s degree in reading from Lewis University in Romeoville, never failed to help Megan with her reading, especially when Megan was struggling with the subject in second grade and was in danger of failing.
“She would come home and we’d work on reading,” Megan said. “She had a warm personality and was very compassionate, very loving and supportive, no matter what. She put everyone’s needs before hers.”
Another daughter, Erin Schneider of Plainfield, was amazed at how her mother, while impacting so many people in the community, still managed to cook dinner every night, take her family to church and organize and participate in family activities. It is, Erin said, a true testament to her mother’s character.
“Looking back, I don’t know how the heck she did it,” Erin said. “When she walked in a room, everyone knew she was there and everyone was happy to see her. She just had this infectious smile. I don’t think she had one enemy.”
Sue Dowse was 60 when she died April 15, 2011. Send donations to Kiwanis of Shorewood, 1100 N. River Road, Shorewood, IL 60404. Indicate “Susan Dowse Memorial Fund.”
Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-467-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org