Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

McLester McDowell, friend to all, dies at 85

12-04-14-mclester-mcdowellMcLester McDowell, before he said his daily prayers each morning, asked the Lord to “please make me a blessing to someone else.” He truly believed he was on Earth to help those less fortunate, whether they were hungry, homeless or ill.

This man of simple needs died on Oct. 20 after a brief illness. He never married but had a huge, loving family of friends and fellow parishioners.

McDowell faithfully attended Mass at St. Mary of the Angels in Anderson, but was so much more to the parish and the community. He demonstrated his faith in God by example.

He was born to sharecroppers in Anderson in 1929, served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant, and retired from his job in 1991. The next day he began volunteering at the Anderson Soup Kitchen. He quickly became chairman of the board and managed operations and volunteers every day, serving between 75 to 100 meals a day. He was also a founder of Clean Start in 1996, which is a volunteer organization created to assist the homeless with laundry, showers and job searches. He served as manager of operations at Clean Start and volunteered there three days a week.

McDowell was also a member of the Anderson Housing Authority board of directors for over 20 years, where he volunteered to assist less fortunate families in search of housing. He was so highly regarded that the community voted to name a new housing authority building the “McLester McDowell Achievement Center”.

He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2013 was named the “South Carolina Knight of the Year”. His tireless and loving service to the community has earned him acclaims from a number of prominent publications.

There was much more to this humble, kind man and words on paper will never truly portray the love and compassion he displayed.




  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Jun 259:00 am Bishop to say Mass - Cathedral of St. John the Baptist - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 2612:00 am Provincial Assemby of Bishops - Charleston, SC
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jun 2711:30 am Mass at Pastoral Center - Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta presiding
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    7:30 pm Mariologia #4
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jun 287:00 pm Mariologia #4
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    7:00 pm Mariologia #4
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jul 1All Day Convocation of Catholic Leaders - Orlando
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    USCCB National Convocation of Catholic Leaders
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Daniel Rudd Fund Application open
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 2 Vietnamese Women's Club
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Jul 37:00 pm Mariologia #4
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jul 5 African American and African Young Adult Gathering in Orlando FL
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 6 National Black Catholic Congress XII
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 8 Vietnamese Men's Club
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Jul 96:00 pm Bishop to say Mass at St. John the Baptist - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    Jul 10 High School CLI
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry
    Jul 1112:05 pm Bishop to say Mass at St. John the Baptist - Charleston
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    2:00 pm Loaves and Fishes Stewardship Webcast
    From the Calendar of Office of Stewardship and Mission Advancement
    Jul 158:30 am Diaconate Formation Class
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Diocese of Charleston St. Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry