Skip to content

Barbara Shemwell

Barbara Ann (Dowell) Grant-Shemwell, 69, of Union City drifted peacefully into a heavenly slumber on the evening of Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.
A memorial service will be held at noon Friday, with visitation to be held from 11 a.m. until the hour of services Friday at White-Ranson Funeral Home. Burial of cremains will immediately follow in Obion County Memorial Gardens.
Barbara, known to many as just “Barb,” devoted her life to family, friends and good food. She was born Sept. 12, 1952, to the late Thomas and Alice Rooks Dowell. She believed food offered the ones she loved a reason to gather, share and reminisce. She knew how important it was to enjoy food and conversation, as it was the magical glue that held her family together. Southern cooking and a good cup of coffee was always available at the gatherings.
You may remember Barbara from the Dowell’s Country Kitchen in Union City or the Circle T Steak-house in Martin. She worked side-by-side with her father, Thomas Dowell, for many years in their family restaurants.
After Circle T Steakhouse closed, Barbara went into catering and worked with two women who became her best friends, Sandy Fuzzell-Edmundson at Market Basket Catering and Another Thyme Catering, and Dottie Bennett at Creative Catering.
Her love of cooking continued long after she retired. She had a new type of “customer” to cook for called grandchildren, who consist of Ivy (Grant) Prather and Dalton and Wyatt and Eden McGuire. She taught both of her daughters, Leigh Anne (Grant) Challender and Mary Kathryn (Shemwell) McGuire, and her granddaughter, Ivy, how to cook. This skill came in handy after they all were married and had children.
As a grandmother, she still spoiled her babies with treats and good food. All gathered to see what Grandma Barbara made special for birthdays and holidays. Even a new customer, a great-grandchild name Zola Prather, realized fast that Grandma Barbara had all the goodies. Barbara cherished the time she spent with all loved ones.
Barbara’s whole world was her family and close friends. Other than those family members mentioned, she is survived by her sister, Betty Stockdale and her husband, Bobby; brother, David Dowell and his wife, Sherrita; cousin, Thomas Barnard who remained close by her side for the last 10-plus years; son-in-law, Jayson Challender; and grandson-in-law, Nick Prather.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Thomas “Tom” Dowell Jr.
Other than cooking, she made sure to pass on her love of flowers and antiques that was passed to her by her mother, Alice Dowell.
Barbara touched many lives over the years. Her smile and open door gave welcome to anyone wanting to visit. As her health started to decline and the pandemic set in, a sense of limited time started a countdown.
She struggled for many years with COPD and congestive heart failure. After fighting a good fight, she was admitted into the intensive care unit on Sept. 23, 2021, for respiratory failure and pulmonary edema. Both of her daughters were present during her time at West Tennessee Healthcare Volunteer Hospital in Martin.
Barbara’s daughters would like to give thanks to all who cared for their mother at West Tennessee Healthcare Volunteer Hospital. A big thank you goes out to those who went above and beyond.
Their hearts are at peace due to the time these individuals allowed them to share with their mother and the advice given to help her pass on. She will be greatly missed.
Condolences may be sent to the family at the funeral home website:

Published 10.5.21

Leave a Comment