Sarah A. Dowling


July 1, 1937 - December 20, 2017

Sarah Ann Dowling, a renowned New Jersey political campaigner whose expertise and devotion helped elect Democratic freeholders, congressmen, legislators, governors and presidents of the United States, died Wednesday December 20, 2017 after a brief illness at Jefferson University Hospital in Washington Township. She was 80.

“Around our house, Election Day was like Christmas,” said her daughter, Mary Dowling. “Mom just loved politics and elections.”

Born in Elizabeth, Ms. Dowling graduated from the city’s Battin High School and moved to California where she worked on the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy. After starting a family in Los Angeles, Ms. Dowling returned to New Jersey where she was active in numerous campaigns after working as a journalist for various print, radio and television outlets.

While raising four children, Ms. Dowling also became an early pioneer in advocating for women’s leadership roles in the political process. She served for 16 years as a member of the Democratic National Committee and for eight years was President of the New Jersey Federation of Democratic Women.

Sarah was especially devoted to the political career of former New Jersey Governor Jim Florio as he rose from Camden County freeholder, to the State Assembly and to Congress prior to being elected Governor in 1989. She also worked as a communications specialist for the State Senate where she developed the State’s first 24-hour radio actuality line for Democratic senators. She also applied her media skills at posts with the Democratic State Committee, the State Schools Construction Corporation, the Economic Development Authority and the U.S. Information Agency at the United Nations.

She was predeceased by her parents, Thomas and Marie Calavano, and her former husband, Richard Dowling.

She is survived by her brother, Thomas (Ann) Calavano of Bridgewater; four children, Richard (Shawn) Dowling of Loveland, CO.; Tom (Lisa) Dowling of Ventura, Ca.; David (Tara) Dowling, of Sewell, and Mary Dowling of Moorestown, with whom she lived. Also surviving are five granddaughters, one great-granddaughter and numerous cousins.

Relatives and friends are invited to visitation on Friday from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at Platt Memorial Chapels, Inc., 2001 Berlin Road, Cherry Hill, NJ. Her funeral Mass will be Saturday at 10:30 am at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 42 W. Main Street, Moorestown, NJ. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery.in Cherry Hill, NJ.


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