Dick Dowrey was born in a small town in Texas and grew up in Grand Junction, Colorado, where his father had a retail and wholesale grocery business extending to Colorado and Central America. Dick worked with his father and soon was one of the owners.

In World War I he served in the U.S. Army Cavalry and was in the officers training camp when the war ended.

On returning to the business he helped establish the first mass grocery business with three Piggley Wiggley Stores in Grand Junction. In the early 1920's he and two other young men moved to Canada establishing the Piggley Wiggley chain in B.C., and in Alberta. When they had built the enterprise to 50 stores in B.C. and 30 in Alberta, they sold to Safeway. Dick then bought the floundering Empress Jam Company, turned it around, and in turn sold that to Safeway. He retired at 51, and as his son, Dick, Jr., says, he lived an active, normal life keeping busy with his interests; golf, reading and traveling with his wife, Bess, and his many friends. "He was a real gentlemen and a great father". He died in 1962 at age 73.


He received many honors and recognitions for his community service, one of which was as a dollar a year man as head of the War Time Price and Trade Board of B.C.


He was a charter member of the Grand Junction Rotary Club in 1919, and joined the Vancouver Club in 1925. He was President of that club in 1934-35, and was active in all phases of its activities. He was an impressive District Governor, and was elected a Director of Rotary International representing Canada in 1946. Bess was a member of the Vancouver Rotary Women's Auxiliary for almost 56 years assisting in its main activity of making aprons for sale at bazaars. Dick always said that he enjoyed Rotary for the fine people he met. His key message to Rotary Clubs was that the harder you worked at Rotary,' the more you got out of it.

His son, Dick Jr., received an MBA degree from Harvard and established his own successful photography supply business which he sold several years ago. In 1960 he was installed as President of the Vancouver Rotary Club by his father.