James E. Dow

1947- 2022

COOPERSTOWN – James E. Dow, whose dedication and service to the Cooperstown area as a licensed funeral director spanned a period of over 40 years, and service to Otsego County as a coroner spanned a period of 30 years, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 14, 2022, at his home in the Village of Cooperstown with his beloved wife, Debbie, at his side.  He was 74.

Jim was born on November 10, 1947, in Oneonta, the son of George E. Dow, Jr. and Helen (Sturges) Dow.  When Jim was 10 his father's position with New York Telephone brought about a move to Stamford.  In 1961, another transfer brought the family to the Village of Cooperstown, and deep roots were planted.  Throughout those formative years, Jim enjoyed spending his free time with his grandparents on their farm at Sturges Corners in North Kortright.  Valuable life lessons and skills were learned from Grandma Frances and Grandpa Ray, and he enjoyed sharing tales of his escapades and adventures there.

Jim graduated from Cooperstown Central School with the Class of 1965.  The day after graduation he began working at the Ingalls Funeral Home in Cooperstown and began to fulfill the mandatory year-long apprenticeship required prior to attending the Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse.  Upon his graduation in 1967, he immediately returned to the Ingalls Funeral Home which was owned by Chet and Millie Ingalls and managed by George Connell.  George and Jim assumed full ownership and operation of the funeral home in 1970 and the name was changed to the Ingalls, Connell & Dow Funeral Home.  George retired in 1986 and Jim became the sole owner and operator of the funeral home until 1994 when Peter Deysenroth joined him and the funeral home became known as the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home.  In 2005 Jim retired and full ownership passed to Peter.  Throughout those 40 years, Jim remained committed to providing compassionate service, going above and beyond to meet the needs of each and every family he served.  He became an Otsego County Coroner in 1988, a position where he continued his commitment to compassionate service to local families and communities until 2018.  

Never one to be idle, Jim pursued other business interests and jobs throughout the years.  In the early 70's he took over the operation of Bassett Hospital's patient transport service with his friend, David Butler. The business was named Cooperstown Medical Transport and was later sold to Mark Zeek and Margaret McGown.  He and Dave also owned and operated the Pathfinder Trucking Company for a period of time, and later entered into a joint venture of building two spec houses.  A life-long baseball fan, former player, "ball boy" at a Hall of Fame game and coach for Little League and Pony League teams, Jim later became a certified umpire and enjoyed using his skills at area high schools and Damaschke Field.

Throughout his life Jim delved into any new hobby or interest with 100% focus and energy.  He created a one-of-a-kind narrow gauge model railroad layout; each and every part of which he created, carved by hand and built from scratch, including intricate mountain passes, trestle bridges, streams and scenery.  He taught himself how to sail with a borrowed book and mastered the banjo with a few lessons. In later years he returned to his love of camping and enjoyed travelling to new places with all the comforts of home along for the ride, including his beloved pets. For a period of 10 years, Jim and Deb spent the winter months at the Briarcliffe RV Resort in Myrtle Beach where he was an active member on the Board of Directors.  He was an avid golfer for many years and especially enjoyed the Wednesday golf group and tournaments at the Leatherstocking Golf Course.  

He was a current member of the Sons of the American Legion Post No. 579, a past president and current vice-president of the Lakewood Cemetery Association, a long-time member and past president of the Cooperstown Lions Club, a former member of both the NYS Funeral Directors Association and the former Ninth District Funeral Directors Association, a former member of the Rat Patrol, and a former member of the Cooperstown Fire Department. 

Jim is survived by his loving companion of 40 years and wife of 39 years, Debra (Oles) Dow; his two sons Neil (Jaime) Dow of Middletown and Brian Dow of Kansas; his grandchildren Mitchell, Baylie, Alivia, Brianna, Kendra and Cooper Dow; his brother Ransom "Randy" Dow of Cooperstown; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Above all else, Jim was known and appreciated for his quick wit, broad smile, and contagious laughter.  To best honor those qualities, a Celebration of Life service will be offered at 2 PM Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown with the Rev. Betsy Jay officiating.  Immediately following the service there will be a time for greeting Jim's family, a sharing of stories, and light refreshments.

Those wishing to do so may direct memorial donations to the Susquehanna SPCA, 5082-5088 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or Helios Care, 297 River Street Service Road, Suite 1, Oneonta, NY  13820.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.