Obituary: Roddey Dowd Sr.
Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.’s Roddey Dowd Sr. passed away at home September 30 with his family by his side. He was 85.
In 1954, Dowd Sr. began his career at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, a family-owned firm begun by his grandfather in 1901. During his 64 years with the company, he served with his father, brother, son, nephew and close friend and associate, Ned Hardison. He held numerous executive positions in the company. Dowd Sr. was devoted first and foremost to the health and safety of the company’s employees, proud to offer them secure jobs.
Dowd Sr. brought his business acumen, leadership qualities and sense of fair play to bear on numerous business, educational, community and cultural endeavors. He was past Director of First Union National Bank (Wells Fargo), the Ruddick Corp., North Carolina National Bank - City Board - (Bank of America), W. R. Bonsal Co. and Norfolk-Southern Railroad Advisory Board, Norfolk, Va. He served on the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, was a member of the Central Selection Committee for the Morehead-Cain Foundation at UNC-CH and the Board of Visitors at Winthrop College. Dowd Sr. was a Director of the Citadel Development Foundation of Charleston, S.C., which in appreciation of his many years of service, made him an honorary graduate. He also served as director for many North Carolina organizations and committees, including the hospital, airport and his church.
He was a decorated veteran, who started his military career as a freshman in college by enlisting in the North Carolina Army National Guard. A year after graduation he served on active duty from 1955 to 1957. In 1965, he reentered the Army earning his Paratrooper Wings and coveted Green Beret. Dowd Sr. proudly served as the Executive Officer of Operational Detachment A-14, Company B 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) 1st Special Forces, North Carolina National Guard. It was with this “Band of Brothers” that he formed close, lifelong bonds, retiring as Captain in 1968.
In 2013, The Department of the Army awarded him The Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for his “over five decades of unwavering dedication to the Army through a range of independent and unique initiatives, from his fundraising efforts for the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, N.C., his careful stewardship of the development of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Mecklenburg County and his letter writing campaign to the North Vietnamese Government to release information on prisoners of war.” He was also presented with the Freedom Award from the Carolinas Freedom Foundation for his patriotism, humanitarianism and philanthropy.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Pepper Dowd, children Roddey Dowd, Jr. (Jane), Anne Dowd Kennedy and Susan Dowd Barrett (Brad); a brother, W. Frank Dowd, Jr. (Anne); grandchildren Roddey Dowd III, James Dowd Kennedy, Elizabeth Anne Kennedy, William Drake Kennedy, William Bradford Barrett, Connor Dowd Barrett; close family members Linda Nodorft and Edith Albritton; and dearly loved nieces and nephews whose lives were anchored by his wisdom, strength, care and love.