Larry Dowd, a longtime Democratic Party political organizer, elections official and higher education advocate in Miller County, Ark., died Monday at age 72.
Dowd was a native Texarkanian who is survived by his wife of 46 years, Peggy, three daughters and seven grandchildren.
He was a Vietnam War veteran who graduated from East Texas State University and worked for more than 30 years at Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., retiring as a quality manager.
Dowd served on the Red River Vocational Technical College Board of Trustees and on the Board of Visitors, Foundation Board of Directors and various other boards for University of Arkansas Community College at Hope.
He served for many years as chairman of the county Election Commission and Democratic Central Committee, and he served two terms with the Arkansas Building Authority.
Former colleagues remembered Dowd as a leader with a remarkable sense of humor who approached politics as a matter of public service.
"He was one of those folks that was always looking out for the community. He was very interested in good government and doing what was best for the citizens of the community and the state of Arkansas. There ain't a whole lot of folks left like that these days," said Circuit Judge Carlton Jones of Arkansas' 8th Judicial District South.
Former County Clerk Ann Nicholas said she worked with Dowd on elections and in her role as county clerk for 28 years. The two were also connected by having children the same age, she said.
"He was a very strong leader, he had a very strong belief system, and he worked hard in the election process and in the political arenas, the things that he believed in, the things he wanted to see accomplished," Nicholas said.
Dowd's work on modernizing the
county's elections stands out in
"He went to lots of state training and lots of meetings and was very involved with that. And so he was instrumental in bringing Miller County into the computer age, as far as voter registration and elections are concerned.
"He was a good man. He was a pleasure to work with. He defused situations that were often contentious with a good deal of humor," she said. "He was just someone I knew that I could always call, and he was a good friend."
Former County Treasurer Ronnie Baird also recalled Dowd's ability to laugh and inspire goodwill.
"Larry had a tremendous sense of humor, and he used that in his leadership role to get his point across out at Cooper Tire where he worked, and also in the the Democratic committee," Baird said, adding praise for Dowd's integrity.
"Larry was a super guy, and he did everything he could to make the political scene what it should be. And I don't think he was down and dirty like some of them are down now. He was up front, and he was always fair with everything that I knew anything about.
"Larry was a super fine leader. He got out in front, and he showed us the way, and we followed him. I felt like he was a good man," Baird said.
Arrangements are under direction of Texarkana, Texas, Funeral Home. Services have not yet been scheduled.
Dowd's brother Wayne Dowd, a former Arkansas state senator, died in 2016.