James Kane Dowd died peacefully at Cape Cod Hospital, attended by his brother and other caregivers, on Jan. 2, 2024. The cause of death was pneumonia. Jim was 75.
The son of the late Leslie and Janet (Kane) Dowd, Jim was born on March 23, 1948 in Manchester, Conn., where he grew up, graduating from Manchester High School in 1966. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1971 with a B.A. in psychology.
Jim once said that he “came to Cape Cod looking for a summer job, and I have been here ever since.” He bought a house in Orleans in 1973 and considered himself a proud member of the Lower Cape community.
During his more than 50 years living on the Lower Cape, Jim used his business skills to become an expert nurseryman, owning and managing Mayflower Nursery in North Eastham, working as a nurseryman at Hart Farm in Dennis Port, and managing the nursery stock and outdoor operations at Bayberry Gardens in Truro from 2000 to 2023.
He developed close personal relationships with Paul Souza and his family, who have owned Bayberry since 1977. “Jim liked things done right,” Paul said. “His knowledge was vast. He understood roses and hydrangeas particularly well, and he was always working, no matter the weather.”
Paul respected Jim for his integrity and honesty. “He had common sense,” Paul said.
In addition to his wide knowledge of plants, flowers, and trees of all species and his love of visiting the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Jim had a second love: for all things BMW. He owned many different models of the make over the years, having purchased his first in 1973. “I had to learn to service it myself,” he said, as “the car was as rare as hen’s teeth on the Cape at that time, and parts and service were hard to come by.”
In 1980, having become, in his words, “a fairly decent mechanic,” Jim founded Bavarian Restorations in Orleans, which, he said, “coincided with the Yuppie boom and flourished” until he closed the business in 1988 to return to work as a nurseryman.
Jim’s affinity for BMWs nevertheless continued in his spare time, and for many years he ran a mail-order BMW parts business out of his home and garage, specializing in hard-to-find parts for older models.
Jim took great pleasure in taking friends on his vintage Scott motorboat around Orleans Town Cove, to Nauset Beach, and to the islands in Little Pleasant Bay. He was also a licensed and dedicated clammer, always generously sharing his harvest with friends and neighbors.
Jim is survived by his brother, Dr. Leslie A. Dowd of Bolton, Conn.; his sister, Janet A. Dowd of Manchester, Conn.; and by his nieces and nephews. He is missed by many friends and colleagues.
Visiting hours were held on Jan. 12, 2024 at Nickerson Funeral Home in Orleans, followed by a prayer service. Burial took place in the Tonset Road Section of the Orleans Cemetery.