Jefferson Wayne Dowling was born Feb. 19, 1977. He passed suddenly and peacefully at home in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Sept. 10. He was born in Anchorage to Donna and Jerry Dowling. Jeff was raised by his mom, along with his sister, Katrina (Rich) and various Mackenzie River Husky dogs on an island in the Tanana River near Big Delta before moving to Fairbanks in 1986 for Jeff's fourth grade year. He attended Denali Elementary where he met his best friend of 33 years, his "brother from another mother" Clint Lemen. The boys bonded over being oddballs in their own way and quickly became close friends.
During high school Jeff worked at Pro Music, played numerous instruments by ear, and always had a natural curiosity and inclination to fix broken things. His mind easily solved complex mathematics, technical, and science problems while finding human nature a puzzle. Jeff graduated Lathrop High School in 1995 and afterward he travelled with a small band of friends outside Alaska to reconnect with his sweetheart, Crystal Nutt, returning home to Fairbanks with her where they married in 1996 for 20 years.
In 1997 Jeff welcomed their daughter Destiny into the world and fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a father. His joy expanded in 1998 when Katelynn was born and the family was completed when Devin was born 2003. Jeff loved his children beyond words and despite hardships, enjoyed nothing more than spending time with them.
With his electronic repair degree Jeff joined IBEW and worked for ACS for nearly two decades until health issues changed his life in 2016.
The Dowling home was filled with children, dogs, and cats over the years which were at times tumultuous yet always passionately, unfalteringly full of love and compassion. Jeff was all about family. His children were his world. He was the best Dad and son.
Jeff took pride in teaching his daughters how to care for their vehicles. He taught Katie how to change a tire and how to drive a manual. He taught Destiny how to repair a winterization cord and fix a serpentine belt. As his children grew to adulthood he looked forward to the day he might be a grandfather. Despite many unfair hardships, Jeff continued to have nothing but love for his family and friends.
Jeff enjoyed a wide range of interests. Some of his favorite things were chess, music, Led Zeppelin, visual art, Star Wars, World of Warcraft (which he introduced to all of his children; Devin particularly enjoyed learning how to play from his dad), Guitar Hero, Dragon Ball Z, frugality, and the opportunity to reuse or fix anything he could for family, friends, and strangers of all sorts. Jeff also loved riding his motorcycle, especially with his brother, Clint.
Jeff always had a helping hand for those in need. He never failed to stop on the side of a road to help a stranger on a cold Alaskan night. While he wasn't the best at calling, he always picked up the phone when people reached out to him. He had a green thumb, and especially enjoyed helping his mother with her artichoke garden during the last summer of his life.
Jeff possessed a lifelong interest in teaching and learning, always enjoying a lively debate about various topics with friends around a gaming table. Sometimes he had a reputation for being a bit of a know-it-all but that's because he often did, as he was well read and very smart from a young age. We recall when his math teacher said there was only one way to solve proofs, he showed her otherwise. Jeff was always quick with a good groaner of a dad joke too, leaving the impression he alone invented the dad joke genre.
Jeff's quick smile and open arms will be greatly missed.
Jeff is survived by his beloved children, Destiny Eileen Dowling, Katelynn Rose Dowling, and Devin Wayne Thomas Dowling, all of Fairbanks, Alaska; his grandmother Marvel Dowling, Jerry (Kathy) Dowling, of California; his grandmother Catherine Jenkins, of Oklahoma, Donna Dowling, of Fairbanks; his sister Katrina (Lyle), nephews Conner and Logan Rich of Nixa, Missouri; his heart sister Stephanie (Kesava) Rivet, his heart brother Clint (Molly) with many screaming Lemen children, of Fairbanks, who adored Uncle Jeff; his aunt Mary Leith, cousin Hillary Addison and cousin Arthur Dowling of Delta Junction; plus many dear friends, adopted family members, castabouts, nieces, nephews and cousins of our clan. You know who you are and your heart is heavy. He is preceded in the life hereafter by grandparents Jim and Millie Medema, George Dowling, and his Uncle Tom Dowling.
A celebration of life on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, between 4 and 8 p.m. or pau with bonfire and festivities will be held in the Park outside the Ken Kunkel Community Center at 2645 Goldstream Road for Jeff's family and friends. Please practice social distancing and wear masks when distancing isn't possible.
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