Dancer, physical therapist
Amy Lindsey McDowell, 58, died on May 14, 2023 in her Forest Park home. She was living in hospice at home, and her parents and her sister were with her at the end. Born on Aug. 24, 1964, in Rochester, New York, she grew up there and in Ohio and New Jersey, and in 1982 graduated from high school in Ridgewood, N.J.
She began ballet studies in the second grade, and during her senior year in high school was accepted by the School of American Ballet in New York City. While working various part-time jobs, she continued at SAB for the next two years and appeared in the school’s annual performances. In 1985 she enrolled in the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and earned her BFA in dance in 1989. While a student, she was an apprentice with the Cincinnati-New Orleans Ballet Company and with Ballet Met of Columbus, Ohio, dancing in the corps and performing character roles in both companies.
After graduation, she taught ballet and ballroom dance in New Jersey and took courses at several local colleges to qualify for admission to a program in physical therapy. In 1992 she entered Stockton State College in New Jersey and earned her B.S. degree in physical therapy in 1994. For the next several years, she worked as a therapist for several clinics while earning her certificate to teach Pilates and then opened her own Pilates studio.
In 2000 she moved to Oak Park to work as a physical therapist and a Pilates instructor. She continued her interest in dance by performing with Ballet Legere and Chicago Dance and by competing in ballroom dance contests. Her last employment was with ARC Physical Therapy.
Amy is survived by her parents, Alfred and Judith McDowell; her sister, Heather McDowell and Heather’s husband, Bryan Wallick, of Athens, Ohio; Bryan’s daughters Zion Everson and Ehryah Carroll (spouse Rachel), and Ehryah’s and Rachel’s daughter, Lennon. During her last illness she received strong support from her extended family and friends, especially from friends Michelle DesRoches, Melinda Mills, and Theresa and Peter Nagaro. The family thanks those friends and the physicians and staff members in Rush Medical Center in Chicago for their sensitive attention and care.