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Arabell McDowell


Arabell Alice Nelson McDowell, 85, passed away at home surrounded by loved ones on May 23, 2024, in Queen Creek, AZ. Our loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother lived a life full of faith, love, service, discipleship, and strength.

Arabell was born June 18, 1938, in Mesa, Arizona, to Virginia Alice Zufelt and Herbert Denzil Nelson. She was the oldest of 5 children.

She is survived by her husband, John R. McDowell Sr., her sister Jackie, her brother Dick, and her seven children: Russ (Denise), Rick (Becky), Alicia  Schibler (John), Steve (Cheri), Mike (Lisa), Marc (Kara), and Jeana Brown (Lanny).  She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Warren, her sister Bobbie Jean, and her granddaughter Robyn.

After graduating from Mesa High School In 1956, Arabell attended ASU for 1 year. Her cousin, Coy, paid for her to attend. She was always very grateful for that opportunity.  She left ASU after one year of school to marry John and support him in getting his education. They were sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple for time and all eternity on June 27, 1958.  John graduated from ASU in 1964 and Arabell was finally able to stay home and be with her children full time.  Eventually she opened an in-home daycare. Besides her own 7 children, she helped raise and shape countless other lives over the span of 35 years.

After retiring from childcare, Arabell spent her time serving in the temple, serving her family, and making hundreds of scrapbooks for her children and grandchildren.  She loved and longed for any reason to get together as a family.  She would have “Grandma’s Day” on Fridays,  do “back to school” shopping each summer with her grandchildren, and she carefully planned out a family campout/reunion each July.  Ask any grandchild and the family campout was the highlight of their summer.

In 2008, Arabell and John served a church history mission in Salt Lake City, UT.  While it was extremely hard for her to be away from her family, Arabell used that time to research and gather stories of her ancestors. On returning from her mission, she put together a book “Legacies of Faith” where she compiled 100s of pictures and stories of ancestors and gave a book to each of her children.

Arabell was an incredible wife and wonderful mother whose love was shown and freely shared with all who were fortunate enough to know her. Her resounding strength and unwavering faith throughout her life was a testament to all who knew her, especially her 35 grandchildren and 29 great grandchildren. Through her example, Arabell taught her children and grandchildren the value of working hard and serving others.   She loved Jesus and His Gospel.  Her testimony was a roadmap for her life.

Funeral services will be held Friday, June 7, 2024, at 10am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 19730 E. Ocotillo Rd, Queen Creek, AZ 85142.