Cover photo for Frances Mcdowell's Obituary
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1923 Frances 2022

Frances Mcdowell

August 1, 1923 — December 20, 2022

Frances Fountain Shaw McDowell, age 99, died on December 20, 2022, after a brief illness. A native of Richlands, North Carolina, Frances was the second of three children of the late Annie Cavannaugh Fountain and Jere Wilson Fountain. Her father, a rural mail carrier, was killed tragically when Frances was 12. From that point in her life, she was raised by her mother, and Frances and her older brother Billy helped their mother raise their then six-month old brother, Jere. Frances spent most of her early years on a farm in Onslow County, NC (passed down from her great-grandfather, John R. Fountain), working tobacco in the summers.

After graduating from Richlands High School, where she was voted “Best Looking” (deserved) and “Most Athletic” (highly questionable), she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from Women’s College of the University of North Carolina (“WC”, now UNC-Greensboro). Frances was the first member of her family to graduate from college. When her high school sweetheart, Linford L. Shaw (“Jupe”), returned from active duty in the U.S. Army in 1945 (having been stationed at Schofield Barracks near Honolulu) upon the conclusion of WWII, Frances and Jupe were married in Fayetteville, NC. After farming on Frances’ mother’s farm the summer they were married, Jupe and Frances returned to Chapel Hill where Jupe completed his degree, and their first child, Bob, was born. Following graduation, the family moved to Danville, VA where Jupe took a job with Dan River Mills, and second son Jim came along a few years later.

The family moved to Spartanburg in 1960 when Jupe accepted a management position at Deering-Milliken (now Milliken). Frances and Jupe enjoyed forty-seven years of marriage until Jupe’s unexpected death in 1992. Frances married Fred A. McDowell (her ballroom dance partner) in 1999, and they enjoyed almost five years of marriage until Fred’s unexpected death.

Frances was a wonderful wife, mother, and homemaker, and a beloved grandmother and great-grandmother. She was extremely proud of her grandchildren, and she adored her great-grandchildren. Frances was a kind, loving, and generous person, and had excellent fashion sense. She was known for her expertise as a seamstress, baker of sourdough rolls and bread, and her enthusiasm for ballroom dancing. She loved spending time with family at her Pawleys Island house, and she maintained numerous life-long friends.

In addition to her parents, first husband, Linford Lee “Jupe” Shaw, and second husband, Fred A. McDowell, Frances was predeceased by her son, Robert L. Shaw, and her brother, Rupert (Billy) Fountain. She is survived by her son, James W. Shaw (Janet W. Shaw), of Spartanburg, daughter-in-law Susan S. Shaw of Indian Land, SC, grandchildren Stephen F. Shaw (Kimberlee), of Greensboro, NC, Sara S. Nicholas (Peter), of Bryn Mawr, PA, Marianna S. Harmon (Andrew), of Baton Rouge, LA, Robin S. Wilcox (Kenneth), of Edmonds, WA, and Rachel S. Ryan (Dave), of Philadelphia, PA, great-grandchildren Jackson D. Shaw, Caroline G. Shaw, Samuel J. Shaw, Sidney J. Nicholas, Alexander A. Nicholas, Parker J. Nicholas, Frances C. Harmon, Bonnie S. Harmon, Rose S. Harmon, and Audrey A. Wilcox, brother, Jere W. Fountain, stepdaughters Carol M. Soder (Mike) and Ina M. Harrington (Steve), step-grandchildren Victoria Harrington, Cullen Sowder, and Marcus Sowder, and step-great-grandchildren, Chloe Sowder and Leaf Sowder. She is also survived by numerous first cousins, nieces and nephews, and special friend Betty Roberson.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. of Thursday, December 29, 2022, in the sanctuary at First Presbyterian Church, by Rev. Joanne Hull and the Rev. Dr. Andrew M. Harmon. The family will be at the home of Janet and Jim Shaw.

The family would like to express their appreciation to David G. Ike, MD, and the doctors and nurses at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center and Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home, for their compassionate care of Frances during her recent illness, as well as family friend Tracy N. Bishop.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to Mobile Meal Service of Spartanburg County, Inc. or to a charity of one’s choice.

Floyd’s North Church Street Chapel

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Frances Mcdowell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church (Spartanburg)


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