Chuck Dowdle was born in Crookston, Minnesota. While attending college on the G.I. Bill, Dowdle married his former Cathedral High School friend and classmate, Marilyn “Marty” Kirkwood. Dowdle graduated from St. John’s University at Collegeville, Minnesota in 1952. Five daughters, an M.A. in Secondary Education and 36 years later, Dowdle retired from teaching English in Santa Rosa, California. After his wife of 49 years died of ovarian cancer, he married her close friend from high school, Carmelle Johnson Matthes. Carmelle and Chuck reside happily in Cambria, California.

Titles by Chuck Dowdle

  • A Minnesota Memoir

    Released: August 2022

    Genre: Biography

    “I jumped out and waved Russ to the edge of the garbage pit when I saw them coming, hundreds of them, RATS! Yellow eyes blazing… hungry mouths cheeping… bodies rippling like a brown furry carpet… and heading in our direction!”

    Growing up during the Great Depression and World War II years in the small, northern Minnesota town of Crookston challenged “Charlie” with a series of shocking experiences and exciting adventures. Many of them took place on the Red Lake River, where he fished, swam, ice skated, and witnessed one of his closest young friends drown. Others took place where he had his first dance and met his first love. Still others occurred at jobs like the meat market, where he had his first encounter with rats! How Charlie survived with body and soul intact provided the content for Remembering Crookston: A Minnesota Memoir.

  • Released: December 2021

    Genre: Novels

    “Doctor,” whispered Sister Giovanni with a sense of urgency
    as the tiny newborn infant slipped into her outstretched hands,
    “I think there’s another one!”


    Twin Lights was written to help a father imagine a very different version of his life had his premature twin sons lived and been his only children. Michael Charles and Mark Edward Dowdle were born at five-and-a-half months’ gestation in Perham, Minnesota on August 9, 1953, each weighing a pound and a half. The twins died an hour apart the following day.
    When Dowdle was 83 years old, he began pondering the question of what that life might have looked like, a life with twin sons and no daughters. That question was answered when he finished writing Twin Lights in 2021 at the age of 93.