Yolande Domville Mascia McDowell, 89, of Madison passed away Dec. 31 at The Hearth retirement home.
Yolanda, as she preferred to be addressed in her later years, was predeceased by her former husband, James Hugh McDowell, in 1964 and subsequently assumed the role of family matriarch, raising their five children in South Norwalk while pursuing a 30-year career in real estate.
She started her real estate career in the early 1970s, eventually opening her own office, Shore & Country Realty, in Darien.
She was born in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 7, 1927 daughter of his excellency Luciano Mascia, a career Italian diplomat who later served as ambassador to the United Nations and Cuba, and Anne De Beaujeau Domville of Montreal.
— an obituary from Swan Funeral Home
Yolanda was an only child who was raised in Montreal by her grandparents, but enjoyed a lifetime of fun with her first cousin Jim Domville who she affectionately called Beau.
She excelled at school in Montreal, and eventually returned to the United States, graduating from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania in 1948. Having become fluent in four languages, she enjoyed escorting her father to parties and receptions in Cuba, and Washington, and traveling to Rome to visit relatives.
In 1952, she met Hugh McDowell through mutual friends in New York. Hugh had recently been widowed and was the father of two young girls, Allie and Cookie. Yolanda and Hugh were soon happily married and moved to Wilson Point, South Norwalk, where their family grew to five children.
A lifelong skier, she also built a family house in Windham, Vt., enjoying many weekends and vacations with family and friends all around her. Her love of painting and her growing family was the source of joy and happiness for the rest of her life.
Yolanda lived her retirement years as a resident of Legend Hill in Madison and later at the Hearth.
Throughout her life she was an avid reader of history, an engaging conversationalist, and a lively dinner partner who expected the same in return. She leaves a legacy of humor, grace, strength and an unending love of family.
Yolanda is survived by her five children: Allie Kubler of North Branford and Tenants Harbor, Maine; Cookie Spears of Hopewell, N.J. and Naples, Fl.; Jamie McDowell of Wilton; Tony McDowell of Westport; and Sandra Davis of Madison. She also adored her 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A private family service in planned for Jan. 5 in Madison.