Jay graduated from Collinsville High School in 1978, Culver-Stockton College in 1982, the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement in 1983, and St. Louis University Law School in 1988. He was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1988 and Missouri Bar in 1989. His career took him down many paths, starting as a patrolman for the Fairview Heights Police Department from 1983-1985, then transitioned to the practice of law in 1988. During his law career, Jay worked with the firms of Nelson & Bement; Heiligenstein & Badgley; Rich, Nalefski & Dowling; the majority of his time spent with Sterling & Dowling; and was currently a partner with Clayborne & Wagner. He was held in very high regard within the legal community, authored multiple law publications, and was voted by his peers the past two years as a Leading Lawyer. Jay was a bull-headed, stubborn workaholic who thrived on enforcing the rule of law. He only knew one thing, and that was to give it his all – no excuses! He will truly be missed.
Above all else, Jay’s devotion to his family and friends was fierce, and he would move mountains to do anything asked of him. Jay enjoyed all activities involving his sons – sports, scouting, music – you name it. He was their biggest fan!
Jay was truly blessed with wonderful people in his life. Many wonderful friends (too many to count!), coworkers and of course his family whom he adored more than anything. He married his wife of 33 years, Shelly (Easterley) Dowling on November 25, 1988, and was bursting with pride when his sons, Mason (Nikki) Dowling and Nolan (Sarah) Dowling were born. Nothing surpassed his thrill and excitement when his grandson, William, came into the family. In addition to his immediate family, Jay had many family members (whether by blood or by bonus) to grace his life – brother, Mead “Chuck” (Gailyn) Dowling; sisters, Cherie (Keith) Carlisle and Vernita (Paul) Palmer; fathers-in-law and mothers-in-law, Kenny and Carol Easterley, and Stephen and Sally Jay; sisters-in-law; Samantha (fiancé Garrick Roland) Easterley-Bierman and Julie Pait; nieces and nephews, Douglas Carlisle, Kaitlyn Carlisle, Lindsey Pait and Michael Pait; and last but certainly not least, his “bonus babies” Mary, Grace, Alex, and Robbie Schallert.
Jay was preceded in death by his parents, Wilbert LeRoy and Lois Jean (Frey) Dowling, and a niece, Jordan Carlisle.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Teresa Boy Scout Troop 19 or Belleville East Athletics. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Visitation: Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 21, 2021, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, and from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, May 22, 2021, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, IL. Masks are required at both locations.
Funeral: A Memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 22, 2021, at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Belleville, IL. Masks and check in will be required upon arrival.
According to Jay’s wishes, cremation services were held.