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  • Boucher O'Brien Funeral Home

Mark Woods Dowling 1952 - 2024

Mark Woods Dowling, 71, of Easthampton, Massachusetts, was called to his eternal home in heaven by his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ on April 25, 2024 following years of bravely battling cancer and the long-term effects of treatment.  

Mark was born on June 4, 1952 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a son of the late John and Mary (Thumb) Dowling.  He was the husband of his wife Holly (Moulthrop) Dowling for 44 years, and the father of their precious daughters Rebecca (husband David) Alvarez and Elizabeth Gordon and loving Grampie to Karis Alvarez.  These sacred roles constituted Mark’s greatest earthly joy, and his love for his family far exceeded what words alone could adequately convey.

Mark grew up in various Connecticut towns, including three years in West Hartford with his maternal grandmother not long after his mother had passed away when he was six years old.  Mark graduated from Wilton, Connecticut High School in 1970, where he was a member of the National Honor Society.  During his high school years, he was very active in interscholastic sports (especially track and field) and the Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout as had his father.  Many of the formative life experiences of Mark’s youth happened first as a camper and later as staff at the YMCA’s Camp Jewell in Colebrook, CT.  Mark graduated from Amherst College in 1974 with a B.A. degree in English, cum laude.  While at Amherst, he continued to be very active in track and field at the intercollegiate level and became a skilled hammer-thrower.  In 1985, Mark received an M.B.A. degree in marketing from the University of Connecticut, and in 2001 an M.Div. degree from Conservative Baptist Seminary of the East.  During the course of his adult life, Mark increasingly came to recognize and tried to live by the truth that the ultimate source of human abilities and diligence is God, who deserves to be honored accordingly and who called Mark to use his God-given resources in service to others.

The first 19 years of Mark’s working life entailed stints as a secondary-school English teacher and track coach, an educational fundraiser, and for 14 years a sales and marketing professional in the office automation and paper industries.  Mark spent the remaining 23 years of his working life heeding God’s call to be a chaplain at the Springfield Rescue Mission, where he taught daily Bible classes to Mission residents, provided them with one-on-one biblical counseling, and carried out various administrative responsibilities.  During this period, he also worked part time for nine years as an autism support staffer with the Pathlight Group (formerly the Association for Community Living).

Mark was a member of College Church, where he came to faith in Jesus as his Savior in 1977.  Mark was involved in a number of volunteer ministries there over the years, including the one closest to his heart:  the church’s soup kitchen and overnight cold-weather shelter.  Mark also served on the board of Valley Christian School, and was a volunteer high-school Bible class teacher.  Mark was an avid hiker and backpacker for much of his life, especially along the Appalachian Trail and including the White Mountains and Mt. Katahdin.

In addition to his wife, daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughter, Mark is survived by his brother Peter (wife Deborah) Dowling of Stamford, Connecticut; his sister Jane Dowling of Waterbury, Connecticut; his sister-in-law Nancy (husband Paul) Grasso of Richardson, Texas; his sister-in-law Judith Sanders of Beaverton, Oregon; many cousins, nieces, nephews, and their families; his faith communities; and longtime friends.

Mark and his family are grateful for the personal, world-class care and support he received through Dana Farber Cancer Institute throughout his many years of treatment.

A memorial service celebrating Mark’s life will be held on June 8, 2024 at 11:00 at College Church, 58 Pomeroy Terrace, Northampton, Massachusetts.  Interment will be private.

Mark’s family invites those desiring to make a memorial gift to consider one of the following organizations that were close to Mark’s heart:


Springfield Rescue Mission (

Camp Jewell YMCA (


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