Dionne Sophia McDowell, a radiant beam of Jamaican sunshine, was born amidst the vibrant surroundings of Kingston's Seivwright Garden Parish to her adoring parents, Sherron Marie and Eglon Kitchener McDowell. With a presence as captivating as her height, Dionne was a born leader, and her early years were filled with laughter, sandy beaches, and the crystal-clear blue waters of her island home. At the tender age of seven, her family embarked on a new chapter in the Bronx, where Dionne continued to shine.
A graduate of Truman High School and the esteemed Baruch College, where she earned her degree in I/O Psychology, Dionne's love for literature was not merely a pastime but a true calling. Her journey in the world of libraries began as a teenage library page and blossomed into a role as a mentor and assistant librarian, where she played a pivotal role in expanding young adult sections, notably at Huntspoint. Dionne championed inclusivity, ensuring library shelves reflected the rich tapestry of the community's diverse cultures.
Her professional path was diverse and marked by remarkable accomplishments, including positions at Fordham University's administrative team and various roles within Westchester County. Yet, to Dionne, these achievements paled in comparison to her greatest source of joy: her beloved daughter, Ava, a young girl already showing the same strength and leadership qualities as her mother.
Dionne was an exceptional mother, a devoted daughter, a supportive sister, and a loyal friend. Her unwavering encouragement was instrumental in her siblings' nursing, research, and academic successes. In addition to her remarkable accomplishments, Dionne was known for her sage advice, which she generously shared with family, friends, and anyone fortunate enough to know her. Her top three guiding principles were as follows: "Live today as if you are living for tomorrow," reminding us to cherish each moment; "Let's not worry about things we cannot change," a testament to her wisdom and resilience in the face of adversity; and "You don't have to have things figured out. Try things and make mistakes when you're young. This is the time to do it," a message of encouragement that echoed her own fearless pursuit of knowledge and growth. Dionne's words of wisdom continue to resonate, serving as a lasting testament to her enduring impact on our lives.
She leaves behind a loving family that includes her cherished daughter, Ava, her mother, Sherron, her siblings Mishem, Shelly (along with her husband, Kenneth Porter), and her brother Tyquan. Dionne's niece, Maddison Guy, and nephew, Kendall Porter, and her cousins, Imani and Kymesha Reid, will also treasure her memory. Her grandmother, Alberta Ross, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins will also hold Dionne's memory dear.
In every book opened, every story told, and every life she touched, Dionne's legacy will continue to inspire and guide us. She leaves behind a testament to a life well-lived and a woman who was dearly loved.