Dowell, Joseph (1907-1999)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOSEPH DOWELL: born in Coventry on 15th December 1907, he was the son of devout parents who were active in church life. He was awarded a scholarship to Bablake School and afterwards began to train as a machine tool draughtsman, before responding to the call to the ordained ministry of the Primitive Methodist Church. He entered Hartley Victoria College in 1928. Upon completion of his training in 1931 he was stationed in the Bottesford Circuit and then served in the Redditch and Newark Circuits before becoming a chaplain in the RAF and serving in the Middle East.

Following demobilisation, he was minister at Champness Hall, Rochdale, then in Northampton, Cradley Heath and finally Wolverhampton before retiring to Southport. Joseph served as Synod Secretary for the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District from 1963 to 1972 and was Conference Arrangements Secretary in 1966. 

His ministry was both active and varied, for as well as being an able administrator he was a strong preacher who exercised a warm pastoral ministry, both within and outside the church. He served on the Rochdale Education Committee between 1947 and 1954 and established the Citizens’ Advice Bureau in the town. Joseph married Thirza in 1935 and they enjoyed nearly forty years of marriage before her sudden death shortly after he became a supernumerary. They had two children, Anton and Jo (Janet), who will always be grateful for the influence and guidance of their father. This influence extended into the wider family and Joseph was called upon to conduct many family weddings. 

After Thirza’s death he married Hazel and they shared almost twenty years together. Joseph had a great love for music, he arranged concerts by professional musicians and orchestras whilst serving in the Middle East and once, at RAF Padgate, he played in an orchestra composed mostly of players from the Hallé and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras. He also loved sport; in his youth he played football and later became a referee, and he continued to play golf until his doctor forbade him to drive a car. It was always a delight to spend time in his company, because he was a great story-teller with a delightful sense of humour. He never lost his enthusiasm for ministry and was a source of encouragement to his younger colleagues. He died on 9th September 1999 in the ninety-second year of his age and the sixty-ninth year of his ministry.


Joseph was born on 15 December 1907 at Coventry, Warwickshire, to parents Joseph, a motor tyre fitter (1911), and Nora..

He married Cissy Thirza Stoakley (1905-1973) in the summer of 1935 at Coventry, Warwickshire.

  • Anton H (b1937)
  • Janet T (b1940)

He married Hazel Sanderson (1911-1993) in late 1974 at Southport, Lancashire.

Joseph died on 9 September 1999 at Southport, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1931 Bottesford
  • 1935 Redditch
  • 1938 Newark
  • 1940 Chaplain H.M. Forces
  • 1946 Rochdale Mission
  • 1956 Northampton Gold Street
  • 1960 Cradley Heath
  • 1969 Wolverhampton Darlington St
  • 1973 Southport (S)


Methodist Minutes 2000/33

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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