Garth McDowell

A photo of Garth McDowell

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Garth McDowell on Monday, January 18th, 2021 at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. Born 73 years ago to the late Orville (Sam) and Ruth McDowell, Garth lived his entire life on the family farm.

Beloved husband of Sue (Vegso) McDowell for 48 years and dear father of daughter Shannon and Jim Rose of Abbotsford, BC, and son Shane and Wendy McDowell of Chatham. Cherished grandfather of Sophie, Katie, Josie, Charlotte and Eddie.

Dear brother to Wanda (Don) Burse of Blenheim and Lawna McDowell (Marcel Trepanier) of Windsor. Special brother-in-law to Sandy and Ken Chauvin of Cedar Springs.

Garth worked as an auto mechanic in Blenheim and Chatham for 25 years before moving to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance as a refrigeration mechanic. While there, he was actively involved with CLAC and served on the National Board.

Garth always had a passion for flying and he obtained his private license when he was 16. He then went on and received his commercial and instructor’s licenses. He spent many years working, on the weekends, as a flight instructor at the Chatham Airport where he developed many lifelong friendships. He also enjoyed making and flying model airplanes.

Garth was a kind and considerate person who loved animals. In the past few years, he was able to renew his love of horses and riding. He and “Colonel Bob” became quite the team.

Garth will be forever remembered as a caring and friendly man and he will be missed by all who knew him.

With our deepest gratitude and appreciation, the family would like to thank Dr. Segeren, Dr. Huffman and the wonderful nurses and staff in the Emergency Department and the first responders for their outstanding efforts and compassion.

In keeping with his love of animals, friends wishing to remember Garth with a memorial donation are asked to consider Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue Centre ( or CK Animal Rescue (

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Sue and family my heart hurts for all of you at this sad time.Great memories at many meeting and conventions attended with Garth with CLAC and CKHA. His gentle nature and warm smile will always be remembered.GOD BLESS🙏

Seeing Garth at work at CKHA was always a relief. He was conscientious of his task. He would explain what he had done and I would looked stunned because I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I just would say go ahead I have no idea. I knew it would get done and done right. He always made me smile with this. I hope your memories help you smile 😍

Our condolences with the sad loss of Garth. I had the opportunity to know Garth at the CKHA. He shared his talents and skills on a daily basis and always had effective solutions to every problem. Take good care of each other.

Heartfelt condolences to you Sue, Shannon and Shane and families on your loss. Such a difficult time to experience a loss with this pandemic. May all those beautiful memories made through the years give you strength.

Dear Sue and family - prayers, hugs and love for each of you during this difficult time. Was always so good to see Garths's great smile at Church - he will be missed very much

So sorry to hear of Garth’s sudden passing. I would often cross Garth’s path at the hospital and he was always such a gentleman with a smile and a cheery greeting. He was a role model for many.

Garth, taut me how to fly. I met garth while i worked at Merritt marine and he worked a weakens car dealer ship. 1979-1990. then we became good friends, he taut me how to fly and always to believe in my self . he always love to talk about flying and cars .I will miss him. Thankyou Garth. your friend Richard Burton.

Sue and family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time! Gord and Liz Kirk.

To the McDowell and Vegso families, Having had the opportunities to know and meet most of you in a variety of situations it now saddens us to know you have lost such an anchoring part of your families. Garth's presence will shine on in your memories as you share them as often as you can. Thoughts and prayers for all. Elaine and Garry Warriner

I am sending my heartfelt condolence to you Sue. Garth was such a kind and gentle man. Always greeted you with a big smile. Had good to say of everyone. We always had good visits at the Salon. I will miss him. I will continue to Pray for God's Peace and Comfort for you and your family in these difficult days. Farida.

Dear Sue and family: Please accept my heartfelt condolences as you mourn the loss of Garth. It is always difficult to say a final farewell but even more so when it is unexpected. I pray you are sensing God's presence as He wraps His arms around you bringing peace and comfort in your time of grief. May you know you are being thought of and prayed for . And although I cannot give you a hug, I am sending one virtually. Garth was always very friendly at the salon. I will miss his hardly "hello". Cherish the memories!!! They will help immensely in those times of loneliness and despair. Respectfully, Kim Pierce (Reflections Hair Studio).

To the McDowell Family, I was so sad to hear of Garth's passing. He was such a genuine, kind soul and I was so lucky to have known him. He was a wonderful person to work with at CKHA and he helped and coached me through many situations. He was a leader within our team and he will be truly missed by all his CKHA family and friends. Keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. Beth Hall

My sincere condolences to Sue and Garth's family members. Sad to hear of Garth's passing. He had the warmest of personalities going . I first met Garth at Sontair were he taught many to fly. I was one of these fortunate people! I also spent many of weekends working with he and Ron Evans during the busy flying times of the 80's. We shared many stories and laughs together and they will be treasured forever. Rest in Peace my friend!

Sorry for your loss

I began my career at CKHA 14 years ago and worked with Garth for many of those years. He was always welcoming and good for a laugh. No matter what became of the day, Garth was always there with a smile. After his retirement we would, on occasion, run into each other at CKHA. We shared some great conversations and he always spoke of his family and how well they were. I'm saddened by his passing as he was one of the kindest souls I ever met. He will forever be part of the Engineering Team family. My condolences Charles Ruston

Sending our sincerest sympathy and caring thoughts to Sue, Shannon, Shane, Wanda and families. We are so very sorry for your great loss. May your cherished memories bring you strength and comfort now and in the days ahead. Ben and Mary Jo Sonneveld & family

Dear Sue....reading through all the comments, it is evident how many lives that Garth touched. He was such a friendly man; always ready to greet everyone as they came through the church doors. Always eager to keep studying as he attended the men's bible study on Sunday mornings. He will truly be missed. Sending our love and hugs to you. May God give you peace and comfort in the days and weeks ahead.

We were so sorry to hear of Garth’s passing.What a wonderful man!Thinking about all of you at this very sad time.(Garth was a friend of my brother Dave Richards in high school and spent a lot of time at our house)Always a smile!Ann and Keith Wellwood

My condolences to your family. Garth was a very sweet man, I enjoyed working with him at the hospital

My sincere sympathy to you Sue, as well as to Shannon and Shane and families. May you enjoy the many treasured memories you shared with Garth.

My deepest sympathies to you all xo

Sue, I’m so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families as you grieve Garth’s sudden passing. He will be deeply missed in the community. Sheila Satchell (Thompson)

Sue, Shannon, Shane, Wanda and families, I was sincerely saddened to hear of Garth's premature passing. He was a true gentleman and I always looked forward to our visits whenever or paths would cross. I will remember Garth and promise to keep you all in my thoughts.

Mrs. Mcdowell, Shannon, Jim, Shane, Wendy and families, I was so sorry when I learned of Garth's passing. He was such a friendly and kind person, always smiling and happy to have a chat whenever we were at the farm as teenagers, or in our infrequent run ins in the years since. May your many wonderful and happy memories comfort you in this very difficult time. Greg, Val, Alana and Makenna Terry

Our condolences to you Sue and all the family at this sad time. We, and many others whose lives Garth touched, will miss him too. The aviation community is poorer for his loss. The pleasant memory of our interactions with Garth is how we will always remember him. Marg & Mac Mazurek

My deepest condolences to all of Garths family. I have such fond memories of the time I spent on the Vegso farm as a child. Garth was always such a kind quiet man! May God be with you all at this sad time!

Dear Sue and Family, I'm very sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of time with Garth in his role as a steward and national board member at CLAC. He has a kind man, a thoughtful encourager, and when he asked how you were doing he was sincerely interested in the answer. He touched a lot of people's live in the union, and will be missed.

Garth was a wonderful caring man Who would always greet you with a gentle handshake and a infectious smile Our prayers are with his family during this difficult time Co -worker Shai psw

Sue, Shannon, Shane and family We were so sorry to hear about Garth. You have our deepest condolences. Our thoughts and prayers to all of you at this sad time. John & Lucie McTavish

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Paul and Marsha Thorpe

Sue so sorry to hear of Father Garth s passing. Sending prayers and strength at this time!

Shane and family- sending condolences on the sudden passing of your father.

Dear Sue, Shannon, Shane, Sandy, Wanda and Lawna and families. We were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Garth. He was always such a kind gentleman with an infectious smile. Treasure your precious memories with him and know we are sending huge virtual hugs to all of you during this difficult time. Thinking of you all. Cindy and Mike Bokor xo

So sorry for your loss, hugs to you Susan and your family..

I want to express my sincere sympathy and let you know my thoughts are with you and your family. Edna

Please accept my sincere sympathy. My heart goes out to you and your family at this difficult time..

To the families, So sorry to hear of Garth's passing. A bit ahead of me in school but was always kind and friendly. Ran into him occasionally in later years and he was really a nice person. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Doug Hodgson

Dear Sue and Family, With great sadness I’d like to extend my condolences to you, Sue and your family. As you know, I’ve known both of you for many years. Garth’s patience and happy demeanour made him an amazing flight instructor! He also attained his multi engine rating and flew charter for Sontair Limited for a period of time. His outgoing personality made him a pleasure to be around. All our students requested Garth to be their instructor so his schedule was always full!!! He will definitely be missed by many in the aviation world!!! I feel blessed to have been a part of Garths life and know he is up there amongst the clouds where he loved to be!!

Sandy, Ken and Family-My condolences to the entire family. Death can never take away our memories.

To Sue,Shannon,Shane,Wanda and Lawna and all your families. We are very sorry to hear of Garth's passing. We wish to pass along our sincere condolences to all. Anje and Peter Rose

What a wonderful, sweet man Garth was! What a legacy he has left for us all. His joyful spirit was a testimony he had for his Lord! We will miss his warm greetings on Sunday morning. We extend our love to Sue and their family. May God’s grace comfort you at this time!

Sue, Sandy , Wanda and your families. We are so sorry for your great loss. Our hearts go out to you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Stay safe and close to each other.

Shannon, Jim and family My deepest condolences to you and your family at this time. I hope you have time to spend with your family and share good memories about your dad and the life he lived. Thinking and praying for you.

Sue, Shannon, Jim, Shane and Wendy, Wanda and Don and families... We are so sorry to hear of the passing of Garth. Don met Garth at the airport many times over the years. He will be truly missed by many......Prayers and Blessings to all of you. Don and Anne Gammage

Dear Sue, Wanda and family, Please know that we are thinking of you and your family. It is hard to express all of the emotions one feels after losing someone so important in our lives. I trust your faith will guide you through this difficult time. If we can help, do not hesitate to call. All of our best, Sharren and Dale.

Sue, Shane and Wendy, Wanda and family, we're so sorry to hear of your loss. We've many good memories, some going back to grade three of your families. Garth will be remembered for his calm and down to earth nature and quick sense of humour. We will keep you in our thoughts.

My deepest sympathies Sue and family, im loss for words, but I do have tears. Love Anne Marie.

Our condolences to the entire family. May you find comfort in your memories. Growing up and living down the road, our families have been friends for many years and we will be thinking and praying for the entire family. Marg & (John) Russchen, Ted, Judy and Peggy

Sue and Family, Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Our sincere condolences for the whole family, and strength for the coming days.

Our deepest sympathy. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.

Hi Sue sorry for your loss. Your family must all feel a great loss.I spent a lot of time with Garth at the airport. Thankfully he never gave up on me when I had given up! I still think of his words when making a decision on flying safely.

Dear Sue. So sorry to hear of Garth’s passing. He was a wonderful guy. He was my primary instructor, he taught me to fly and always fly safely. He was a kind and gentle man. I’m a better person saying he was my friend. Claudette and I are deeply saddened.

Sue and family, Please accept our sincere condolences on the passing og Garth. An old high school friend, Our thoughts and prayers are with you May he rest in peace

We are so sorry to hear of Garth's passing. Our sincere condolences to the entire McDowell family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Dear Sue and family, I was saddened to learn of Garth's passing. Please know I am holding you all close to my heart and pray that your faith will help you through this difficult time. Nancy Kelly

The entire McDowell family, Having grown up with you all as neighbours and as church attendees, I was so saddened to hear of Garth’s unexpected, sudden death. His smile was infectious! Cherish your precious memories.💕

Our family sends our sincerest condolences to you & your family xo

Sue, we are shocked and saddened to hear of Garths passing. We have known Garth all his life, and he always had a smile and a kind word. May your 48 plus years together be a blessing and bring you wonderful memories in help fill your heart in the future. Don & Nancy

Sue and family my thoughts are with you at this time of loss. Garth's smile greeted everyone who met him, and we are all richer for having known him.

Dear Sue and family : we are so sorry to hear about Garth. We will always remember him with a smile, his kind presence and his dry witty sense of humour. We feel blessed to have known him and sending hugs!

Wanda & family. Sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences to you all. Shelley Sonneveld

Wanda & family - Please accept our sincere sympathy in the passing of Garth, our thoughts and prayers are with each of you at this very difficult time. May the memories of love shared comfort you now and in future days.

Dawn and I would like to express our heartfelt condolence to Sue and family on the passing of Garth. I have many fond memories of Garth...from tutoring me for my commercial pilot's license, along with some flight training and then during our years of working together at Public General Hospital. I always enjoyed our conversations as we shared many similar interests. Garth will be missed.

My heart goes out to Garths family. Garth had the best stories about flying planes. It was a pleasure to have worked with Garth on many projects at CKHA. Garth will be missed by many.

Sue and Family We are very sorry to hear of Garth's passing We are praying that God will give you the peace and comfort that only He can give.

Sue and family & Wanda and family, So shocked to see of Garth's passing. During these tough times we are in, your sudden loss makes it even tougher. Thinking of you !

Sue, Shannon, Shane and family, Sincere condolences to you all in the passing of Your husband , father and grandfather. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Sincerely, Peter and Linda

Sue ,We are so very sorry to here of Garths' passing ! Mark and I send our condolences to you and your family! You will be In our thoughts and prayers! Donna and Dr.Mark !

Our sincere sympathy to Sue and families. We were so shocked to hear of the passing of Garth. Keeping you all in our prayers and thoughts. Hugs to you Sue. Ed and Carol

Our thought and prayers are with you and your family. God bless, Joyce and Bill Guerin

Shane & Wendy, Wanda & Don, Lawna: I am so sorry to learn of the sad loss of your Dad and brother. My sincere condolences to you and to all of you family. Bev Whitelaw

I've known Garth for many decades through aviation. He was as fine a human being as anyone who ever lived. Garth was a gentleman, and always a pleasure to converse with. His even temper served him well in teaching so many students the art of flying. Everyone will miss you Garth. May I sincerely extend my condolences to Garth's family.

Sue, Shannon and Shane. So sorry for your loss. It has been a few years since I saw Garth but he always had a smile on his face. As a friend and mentor at the Chatham airport, I will always cherish the time I had with him. Cheers Chris

Wanda Don and families we are sorry for the sudden loss of your brother. COVID makes a very difficult time even more heart wrenching. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you, our love never dies but we hold our loved ones memories in our hearts forever. Know many hold you in their thoughts in the days ahead.

Sue and Family, We are so sorry to hear of Garth’s sudden passing. Having spent so much time around your home over the years Garth always welcomed the girls, laughed at whatever antics we were up to, and I’m sure was glad to get his seat back in the living room when we finally left. He was a quiet man of few words but a kind presence for anyone who met him. I hope memories bring comfort, he touched many lives. Barbara Myltschenko (Doddy) and Family.

Sue & family, So very sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Hold tight to the memories. They will help sustain you through this very difficult time. Shelley Sonneveld

Sue and family My sincere condolences so very sad to read of Garth’s sudden passing. I know that Jack really respected Garth and his quiet nature from their childhood days. I too have appreciated you and your family over the years with the many smiles and how are you doing. Thankful that you had 48 years together and now to carry on without him. Wishing you strength in the coming days, May your memories in time bring smiles and laughter instead of tears. Wish I could come and visit you in the days ahead but I have moved closer to family in Alberta. Ruth Moerman

Dear Sue and family, Wanda and family I am so sorry to hear of Garth's passing You are all in my thoughts and prayers Helen (Demeurichy) Ouellette

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the McDowell family at this most sad time.

Our heartfelt sympathy, Sue, to you, Shannon, and Shane and to all the family. Sincere condolences also to Wanda and Don and their family. Keeping all of you close in our thoughts and prayers.

So very sorry for your loss. We will keep your family in our prayers.

Sue, Shannon,Shane. Sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you . Arnie and Barb

So sorry to hear of Garth’s passing! My sincere condolences to the family.