Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Michael Robert Dowers

Michael Robert Dowers left his body behind at age 74, after a 40-year battle with rheumatoid arthritis. He died at his home on Puget Island on May 7, 2024. He was born April 19, 1950 in Borger Texas to Florence Wisheart and Clyde Dowers. Michael is survived by his brother Patrick Dowers, his daughter Keenan Dowers, her mother Jan Dowers, and his wife Christine Payne-Towler.

After an active childhood spent on the docks of West Seattle, he embarked upon a life of art, music, publishing, and travel around the United States and Canada. Across the 1970's he was an acoustic musician, busking at Pike Place market when he wasn't on the road. Sometimes he lived in the San Juan Islands for the peace and the beauty, other times he came back to the city for the cultural enrichment it brought.

He participated in various musical ensembles, whether on guitar, mandolin, cittern, bouzouki – whatever he could lay hands on and make rhythm with. Some may remember the Wild Rose String Band in the 1970's, plus the Sea Level Ranters and Beggar's Rant from the early 1980's. There were also years of performances at the Seattle Folk Life Festival. His great joy in every case was to create a compelling rhythm that would make the audience nod and sway, tap their feet, finally get up and dance!

As he settled into family life, his taste switched to electric instruments. He then energized a series of Northwest Surf bands centered in Seattle, including Crystal Forest, the Lovejoys, The Manatees, and The Goats. Eventually he rejoined his acoustic buddies playing contra-dance music for large and enthusiastic crowds across the Pacific Northwest.

At the same time he was the co-founder, editor, and producer of Starhead Comix, along with Bruce Chrislip. Starhead published comic books and Seattle entertainment news between 1984 and 1999. There is a Wikipedia page which lays out a bare-bones version of his publishing adventures across those years, including links to the Grand Comics Database and a number of the artists who were featured in Starhead's pages. Eventually Starhead was retired and Michael went forward as Brownfield Press. In his late 40's Michael went back to school and earned an AA degree in Desktop Publishing. This allowed him to work as an editor with the comics and graphic novel publisher Fantagraphics during his final six years in Seattle.

He moved here to Cathlamet with Christine in 2006, and has enjoyed yet another career as the owner, lead editor, illustrator, and producer at NoreahBrownfield Press. This endeavor is focused on art magazines, Tarot cards and esoteric books, showcasing Christine's lifetime participation in the world of Tarot. Together, Michael and Christine created and produced the Tarot of the Holy Light, which emerged in 2011 and has gained a worldwide reputation for its beauty and penetrating psychological insight. Michael also colored an important but nearly-lost historical pack, the Eudes Picard Tarot.

There was also a final little musical group, affectionately called Hidden River, with Christine and Randy Williams, which played around Cathlamet at the vegetable markets and holiday fairs. Michael loved his life here in Wahkiakum county right to the end, where every window shows another view of paradise. Living along the Columbia River allowed him to finish his life as he started it, on the docks and by the waters of his beloved state of Washington.


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