Funeral Mass held for 99-year-old WWII vet James ‘Red’ Dowling in St. James

A funeral Mass was held in St. James Tuesday for 99-year-old veteran James “Red” Dowling.

News 12 Staff

May 31, 2022, 9:41 PM

Updated 682 days ago

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A funeral Mass was held in St. James Tuesday for 99-year-old veteran James “Red” Dowling.
Dowling was remembered not only for the legacy but also for a life well-lived. He grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II.
His children say Dowling was drafted in 1943 and became part of an elite group of men who flew the B24 bombers in the Army Air Corps.
On Sept. 27, 1944 he was shot down during a bombing run over Germany and taken as a prisoner of war.
Dowling eventually returned home as a decorated war veteran and married his childhood sweetheart. They went on to have eight children.
“Dad loved his family, his country,” says William Dowling, his son.
Dowling started the St. James Little League and served as the Smithtown highway superintendent from 1960 to 1998.
When it came to snowstorms, Dowling made the Highway Department more proactive and set up a system that is used nationwide to this day.
He also was an avid golfer and a wicked gin rummy player, and he restored antique cars. His 1930 Ford Suburban was part of the funeral procession.
Dowling’s family says he was known for his values of "personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith."
Dowling is featured in the "Faces of War" video series and has an entire chapter written about him in Tom Brokaw's “The Greatest Generation.”


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