American Veteran 02


David Arthur Dows

January 15, 1946 ~ August 25, 2019 (age 73)
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On Sunday, August 25, David Arthur Dows unexpectedly left his loving family here on earth to join our Lord and loved ones in Heaven.   

David was born in Lebanon, PA on January 15, 1946 to Arthur Payne Dows, Jr. and Mildred Trostle Dows. A 1963 graduate of Lebanon Valley High School, David attended Dickinson College and then Penn State University, where he received a degree in Criminal Justice in 1971. He later took classes at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Indiana State University, and obtained his Masters of Science in Public Administration from Youngstown State University in 1978. David served in the United States Air Force for four years as a Russian linguist, and spent time overseas in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

David was a man with a passion for service and justice. He served the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for 29 years as a criminal investigator. After retiring, he worked as a mobile therapist, substitute teacher, and was a reading skills teacher for children with dyslexia at Compass Learning Center.  He was certified as a firearms instructor for the NRA and was a lifetime member.  He was Chaplain of the Oasis Lodge 416 F&AM in Edinboro, a 32nd degree Mason, Captain of the Guard of the Valley of Erie Scottish Rite, and a former steward of the AFSCME Union Council 13. He was  a member of the Edinboro- McKean VFW Post 740, Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police,  Zem Zem Shrine in Erie, Legion of Honor, and Erie County Shrine Club. 

Even though he often had a strong, stoic demeanor for his job, those close to him were able to see the gentle and playful side of David. He loved holding babies and rocking them to sleep, and often got mistaken for Santa Clause, whom he played for years to the delight of many Erie children. He was an avid theater goer, actor, and videographer of local theaters, including the Erie Playhouse, All An Act Theater, Edinboro University Theater, Dramashop, and former Roadhouse and Director’s Circle Theaters. His boisterous laugh will be dearly missed among his theater friends. He passed on his love of theater to his daughter, Jessica, and was her most enthusiastic fan and supporter.  David and his wife, Shirley, were avid Erie Seawolves baseball fans.  As part of the Erie baseball family, they owned season tickets every year for the past 25 years, since the very first game.  David also loved frequenting local estate auctions and antique shops in search of Fostoria and carved Soapstone, and making his famous waffles for his loved ones.  

David leaves behind his loving wife of 46 years, Shirley Szymanski Dows, of Edinboro, and his daughter, Jessica Dows, of North Tonawanda, NY, whom he adored. He also leaves three brothers, Michael Dows (Marty), Peter Dows (Wendy) and Daniel Dows (Jane); a sister, Elizabeth Sidor (Robert); brother-in-law, Joseph Szymanski (Eve); sisters-in-law, Teresa Dows, Mary Hanko, Joyce Szymanski, and Lynette Klobusnik (Dale); and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews whom he loved dearly. 

David was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Mildred; father-in-law, Joseph Szymanski; mother-in-law, Irene Wedzikowski Szymanski; brother, Mark Dows; and brothers-in-law, David Szymanski, David Knickerbocker Sr., and Victor Hanko, whom he gently and lovingly helped care for during his battle with cancer. 

Friends may call at the Glunt Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 210 Erie St., Edinboro, on Thursday, September  5, 2019 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. , and are invited to attend a Celebration of Life ceremony on Friday at 2 p.m. at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 427 W. Plum St., Edinboro, PA 16412. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 1645 W. 8th St., Erie, PA 16505; Compass Reading Center, 4701 Old Zuck Rd., Erie PA  16506; Erie Playhouse, 13 W. 10th St., Erie PA  16501; or the ANNA Shelter, 1555 E. 10th St., Erie PA  16511. To send condolences, please visit


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