The Rev. Edward Homer Lee McDowell Sr. was truly a great man of honor and integrity. He was the husband of Ernestine Walker McDowell for nearly 70 years. Rev. McDowell passed peacefully from this life on the night of Nov. 11, 2017, after a decline in health. He devoted his life to taking care of his wife. He loved life and fought valiantly for it. He was surrounded and supported by his loving family and caregivers during the last days of his life. He was loved by his family, friends and community beyond measure and will greatly be missed.

He was born on Oct. 27, 1927, in Liberty to the late William and Cora Gertrude McDowell. He graduated from Clearview High School, attended Gammon Theological Seminary in 1961, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Morris College in 1967. Rev. McDowell was a "preacher of the gospel" and was licensed to preach in 1959. He served the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church more than 45 years, serving as pastor in churches in Spartanburg, Mechanicsville in Sumter and Timmonsville, before retiring. Rev. McDowell was a faithful member of St. James United Methodist Church. He worked diligently in his community as a public servant for many years. His accomplishments and memberships were many; just to name a few: life member of Free and Accepted Mason in 1948 with Catchall Masonic Lodge No. 42, member of NAACP 1960, leader of the Voters Registration Movement in 1968, member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. 1971, member of South Carolina College Personnel Association 1971, member of Boy Scouts of America 1972, member of Board of Public Information United Methodist Church 1973, member of American Legion 1973, member of Equal Employment Opportunity Counsel 1973, first African American to be hired by Sumter Area Technical Education Center as administrator in 1970, chairman of Biracial Committee of Lee County School District, and Veterans Affairs counselor for 406 veteran's program.

Rev. McDowell touched the lives of many, always greeting everyone with a huge warm smile. He never met a stranger and was selfless in his acts of kindness toward others.

He is survived by his wife, Ernestine Walker McDowell; their four children, the Rev. Edward Homer Lee Jr. (Jeannie) of Columbia, the Rev. Julius Lavonia of Charleston, Elaine Gertrude (Carl) Miller of Myrtle Beach and Elizabeth Kay (Ben, deceased) Jakes of Atlanta; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a host of cousins and friends.

The family is receiving relatives and friends at the home, 1008 Dover Circle, Sumter.

Funeral services will be held at noon on Friday at St. James United Methodist Church, 720 Broad St., Sumter, with the Rev. Cheryl G. Johnson, pastor, and the Rev. Edward Homer McDowell Jr., eulogist.

The remains will be placed in the church at 11 a.m.

The procession will leave at 11:20 a.m. from the home.

Burial will be at Hillside Memorial Park, 3001 Cains Mill Road, Sumter.

In lieu of flowers, The EH McDowell Sr. Scholarship will be established.

These services have been entrusted to the management and staff of Williams Funeral Home Inc., 821 N. Main St., Sumter.

Online memorial messages may be sent to the family at williamsfuneralhome@sc.rr.com. Visit us on the web at www.williamsfuneralhomeinc.com.