BLAIRSTOWN:  Shannon M. McDowell, 42, of Hopatcong, New Jersey, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 7, 2017, at Morristown Medical Center.  She was born on August 11, 1974, in Marengo, Iowa, to Carole (Whitehead) Jensen and Bruce McDowell.

After graduating from Benton Community High School (class of 1992) in Van Horne, IA, Shannon moved to Summit, NJ, to work as a nanny for a family she knew from IA.  Over the next several years, she continued to work as a nanny for many different families.  One child with autism under Shannon’s care touched her heart and inspired her to earn a degree in Special Education.  Shannon graduated from Kean University in 2005 and became a Special Education Teacher at Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington, NJ, where she worked for the past 12 years. Her life’s work was nurturing autistic and special needs children.  During the brief time of her illness, she tremendously missed the kids from her classroom and continued to send them special gifts.

Shannon’s interests included traveling with her husband, Steve, spoiling her nieces and nephews, occasional trips to casinos, reading, shopping, baking, and cooking.  She was an avid fan of Willie Nelson and Blues Traveler, and attended several concerts with Steve.  Shannon started the Warren Hills Chapter of Best Buddies International, which is a wonderful mentor program for special needs children.  She was also a Ski Club coordinator and chaperone at Warren Hills Regional High School.

Survivors include her beloved husband, Steven Renard, her parents, Carole and Don Jensen, her sister, Chereé Wheeler and Chereé’s fiancé Kevin Saulsbury, her brother, Brad McDowell, and her nieces and nephews, Kionna, Simone, Aaron, Clayton, Blake, Noah, Jacob, Ian, Jake, and Kyle.  Additional survivors, include her mother-in-law, Clara Renard, sister-in-law, Janet Renard, her brothers-in-law, Steve Petrie, Tom Renard and Alex Renard, her beloved four-legged companion Buckwheat; and too many aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends to list.

Shannon was preceded in death by her grandparents, Edna and Eugene Whitehead, Mary and Stanley McDowell, and Irene and Edwin Jensen, her father-in-law, Jerry Renard, and her sister-in-law, Dana Renard.

Shannon’s Life Celebration will be held in Landing, NJ.  We are in the process of setting-up a memorial scholarship fund in Shannon’s name for students pursuing a career in Special Education.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to help seed this fund.  Checks can be made-out to STEVE RENARD and mailed to:  STEVE RENARD, P.O. Box 6, Hopatcong, NJ  07843

Please trust that 100% of all donations will go to the fund, and all administration costs will be covered by the family.