Award-winning Detroit Motorsports Reporter and Longtime Friend of MIS Joe Dowdall Dies of Cancer BROOKLYN, Mich. - Award-winning Detroit motorsports reporter and longtime friend of Michigan International Speedway, Joe Dowdall, passed away of ...
Award-winning Detroit Motorsports Reporter and Longtime Friend of MIS Joe Dowdall Dies of Cancer
BROOKLYN, Mich. - Award-winning Detroit motorsports reporter and longtime friend of Michigan International Speedway, Joe Dowdall, passed away of pancreatic cancer on April 24, 2005. He was 80. The media center at MIS has been named in his honor since 1986 due to Dowdall's tremendous support in covering races at the track since its inception in 1968.
Dowdall had over a 40-year career at the Detroit Times, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, reporting on various racing topics throughout his lifetime. A native of Detroit, he also occasionally covered the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. He once stated, "Luck and fate gave me a 50-yard line seat on life."
Born and raised in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood, Dowdall attended Holy Redeemer High School and the University of Detroit before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Between missions as a radio operator on B24 Liberators in Italy, he got his start as a reporter by publishing a makeshift sports page of stateside baseball and football scores for his bomber squadron.
He joined the Detroit Free Press in 1948 as a copy boy, and over time worked as a police-beat reporter, Sunday features editor and sportswriter. He joined the Detroit News in 1968 as its motorsports editor and covered a wide range of racing events, including many at MIS. His efforts were recognized with several honors, including two Page One Awards, multiple national and state Motorsports Writer of the Year awards, and he received the inaugural Ray Marquette Award for Auto Racing Journalism in 1979.
After retiring from the Detroit News in 1987, Dowdall lived in Traverse City, Michigan, North Hutchinson Island, Florida and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Shirley, by his five children, Debbie (Deacon), David, Michael, Daniel and Kathy (Forrester), and by sixteen grandchildren.
Memorial service for Joe Dowdall:
Thursday, May 5, 2005
St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church
Grosse Pointe Farms (MI).
Donations in his honor, in lieu of flowers, may be sent:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
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