Richard McDowell Jr., one of the first African Americans to join the Pennsylvania State Police, died on Saturday, July 27, 2019. He was 79.
He was born on Oct. 23, 1939, in Bladen County, North Carolina. He was the son of Lottie Johnson McDowell and the late Richard McDowell.
McDowell served in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1961. In September 1961, he joined the Pennsylvania State Police. After completing the cadet training in Hershey, he advanced through the ranks and helped to organize the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. In 1971, he became the first Black person appointed as security officer for the Pennsylvania attorney general.
In June 1978, McDowell was promoted to lieutenant and assigned as staff services commander in Troop E in Erie. He returned to Troop K in Philadelphia as the patrol section commander, serving from June 1979 to September 1988, when he was assigned to the Eastern Section in charge of liquor control enforcement. He retired in 1991.
McDowell was affiliated with the FBI National Academy Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Southeast Pennsylvania Police Chief Association, International Police Association, Lambda Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and National Order of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).
He was a faithful member of the Leonard C. Irving Lodge No. 994 of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World for more than 40 years. He was a past grand exalted ruler.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Leroy and Cleo.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by: his wife of 49 years, Barbara; daughters, Deborah Scott of Garland, Texas, and Robin Bennette (Nathan) of Frisco, Texas; son, Gregory Hardy (Cathy) of Owings Mills, Maryland; grandsons, Xavier, Zacarias, Isaiah and Myles; granddaughters, Dionne, Danielle and Kristin; nephew, Anthony; nieces, Rhonda, Tina and Michelle; lifetime friend, Benjamin Brooks; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held Aug. 7 at Pinn Memorial Baptist Church, 2251 N. 54th St. Viewing was at 9 a.m. Services followed at 11 a.m.
James L. Morse Funeral Home, Inc. handled the arrangements.