Katherine (Stirling) Dow – Andover, MA
Katherine (Stirling) Dow, 83, died Wednesday September 2nd at her home on Hidden Road in Andover, MA from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Mrs. Dow is survived by her son Michael of Easthampton, MA; her brother Thomas Stirling and niece Laura Stirling, both of Honolulu; her cousin William Ranger Clark of Natick; Mrs. James Welch of Louisville, KY; and many other cousins and in-laws. She was predeceased by her husband and her son, James K. Dow Jr. and David S. Dow, both of Andover.
Born July 12th, 1937 in London, Katherine grew up in several different communities as her father’s work–and military service during world war 2–took the family to new places, including Holyoke MA, Wilmington DE, Dayton OH, Portsmouth RI, Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in TX, Highland Park IL, Andover MA and finally Tarrytown NY. She graduated from Abbot Academy, Bradford Junior College in Haverhill, and Hood College in Frederick MD. She maintained close friendships with her fellow Hood College alumnae throughout her lifetime.
While living in Andover, she met James Dow through mutual friends in 1958, and they got married on April 2nd, 1960 in North Tarrytown (now Sleepy Hollow) NY. They lived together in Cambridge MA before moving to Salem Street in Andover, where they had their first son, David, in 1964. They moved to 173 Holt Road in 1968, where their second son, Michael, was born in 1970. They moved to Hidden Road in 1985. Having had her fill of moving during childhood, Katherine happily remained in this home for the rest of her life.
As a young girl in Corpus Christi, while confined to her bed for more than a year with rheumatic fever, Katherine became an avid reader and devoted fan of British history, mythology, and L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. She devoured all sorts of fantasy literature for the rest of her life, particularly J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Mary Renault, Charles Williams, Phillip Pullman, George R. R. Martin, and Ursula K. LeGuin.
Growing up in an immediate family which encouraged emotional reserve and considered action, Katherine developed a keen empathy for the marginalized and voiceless and also the maturity to not to vent adult frustrations on her children. She passed these interests and sympathies onto her sons, who both adored her, and supported charities such as NAACP, ACLU, Amnesty International, the International Rescue Fund, the American Indian College Fund, and Planned Parenthood. (Donations to any of these charities in her honor would be welcomed.)
Diagnosed with Parkinson’s in her fifties, Katherine remained active until a back injury limited her using wheelchair. She nevertheless maintained a good quality of life and a positive attitude, thanks to the support of friends and family and the care of over a dozen home health aides over the years.
A Memorial Service will be held on Friday, September 11th at 11 SM at Christ Church in Andover, MA. As a result of the Corona crisis there will not be a reception following the service. The family is limited to 50 people in total in the church, so please contact the family if you are planning to attend. The Memorial Service will be live streamed on the churches YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Bb84nEMZKpwlmHuXZ3bqQ
Dewhirst & Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen, MA 01844 is entrusted with Mrs. Dow’s arrangements.
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