Singing group founder returns to Carson City |

Singing group founder returns to Carson City

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Bobbi Dowell has returned to Carson City after two years in Texas. Dowell is the founder of the Singing Seniors and hopes to be active again with the Senior Follies program.

After selling her Odessa, Texas, home and packing to move back to Carson City, Bobbi Dowell’s life changed in that proverbial heartbeat.

Dowell, 72, had just finished breakfast with her brother in an Odessa restaurant when she suffered a heart attack and dropped dead on the floor. Fortunately, a female patron at the restaurant knew CPR and revived her.

“I was lucky,” Dowell said. “I had another heart attack on the way to the hospital. After getting to the hospital and being checked out, I ended up with only one stent being placed. I wasn’t expected to make it out of the hospital.”

Dowell doesn’t remember the exact date, just that it was two or three days before her Aug. 23 move back to Carson City.

Dowell, now at Sierra Place Assisted Living, had moved to Odessa two years ago to be near her sister, Lyndal, who died in June.

She founded the Singing Seniors – a group of senior citizens who enjoy singing – 16 years ago. She also shared piano and organ duties at St. John’s Episcopal Church and Camp Galilee at Lake Tahoe, was director of the First United Methodist Church Handbell Choir for nearly eight years and volunteered as music director for nine Senior Follies productions.

Since her heart attack, Dowell has been going through physical rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles in her legs and to improve her lung capacity. Most of her time in Texas was spent in the hospital, but she feels her recovery is going well. She continues to smile and keeps a positive outlook on her recovery.

“I got back to Carson City Oct. 8,” she said. “I flew in on a medical jet to Carson City Airport and was brought right here to Sierra Place. But I was as weak as a kitten and I lost 40 pounds. But now, I’m doing well.”

Dowell’s friends at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center recently hosted a welcome back party for Dowell at King’s Pizza in Mound House.

Dowell, who does physical therapy twice a week, had to learn to walk again and has had short-term memory lapses.

Dowell was a two-pack-a-day smoker. Now, there’s none – not that she doesn’t crave them.

“You don’t know how badly I sometimes want one,” she said. “I was very good at it (smoking).”

Dowell returned to Carson City because this is where she calls home. The retired music teacher has lived in Carson City twice before totaling 20 years. She has one daughter, Sheridan Dowell, who lives in Southern California, and two granddaughters.

“My friends in the singing group and the handbell choir, they are my family. But I do have goals set for myself. I want to get back to what I call normal activities, like playing the piano and maybe someday play the handbells again. But I need to build up the muscle tone in my arms for that.

She now wants to audition for the Senior Follies on Jan. 9 and would like to move into her own place.

“While I was still in Texas I thought God must have a purpose yet for me, so I’ll go back to Carson City and make use of it. Carson City’s my home.”

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.