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

  • by Chuck Dowdle

    Casey’s problem was that he was in the seventh grade and had not yet learned to read. That is, until his teacher taught him the “tell it, tape it, type it, and read-it-aloud” method.

    California Kids Can Read and Write! is a book containing two separate educational programs, useful for all ages, and includes the following:

    Part I: Kids Can Read!

    Basic Sight Words – Eight stories about imagined experiences for which Chuck Dowdle’s grandchildren were the inspiration. All eight stories draw heavily from basic sight words.

    Sounds and Spellings – Forty-six stories, each emphasizing a single or combined sound of English and the different ways each sound may be spelled. Gradually, a child learns that a sound may have more than one spelling, and reading becomes less challenging.

    Reading to Learn – Reading methods like the one Casey learned, as well as some of the author’s thoughts about language and life.

    Part II: Kids Can Write! promotes the natural growth and development of written language skills by helping students master the different forms of dramatic, narrative, expository, and poetic writing. Designed for students of all ages, it consists of thirty-one sequenced assignments and quality student samples that demonstrate the value of the program.

  • by Chuck Dowdle

    “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.

  • by Chuck Dowdle

    • 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.