Doris Sweeney Bowens was born December 15, 1923 to the late Jack Boyd Sweeney and Alberta Davis Sweeney in Pelham, Texas. Doris moved to Dallas, Texas as a teenager where she received her formal education from the Dallas Public School District. After graduation, she furthered her education by attending Madam C.J. Walker Beauty College and later began a profession as a hair stylist. Doris started an adventure in private food service working at the Baker’s Hotel in Dallas (Downtown), Texas and other food service venues. She later became an entrepreneur establishing her own restaurant in Dallas and a café in Lufkin, Texas. Doris founded the Penthouse Restaurant which became the meeting place for Civil Rights Activists and groups that helped the poor. The Penthouse hosted such notables as: the late President George H.W. Bush, Congressman Martin Frost kick off campaign and was host to the first Dallas Poor People’s Convention held in Dallas, Texas.
Doris was an elected Board Member to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center. Doris was the ever so striving ultimate business woman, always in pursuit of new opportunities. She founded the first black owned Bingo Halls in Dallas and Irving, Texas that hosted black non-profits organizations to raise money.
Doris, fondly known to her family and friends as “Lue”, “Madear” or “The Bingo Lady” departed this earthly life on January 24, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Emory Bowens; son, Leonard McPherson in 1988; sister, Dorothy “Bob” Morton Morgan and her parents, Jack Boyd and Alberta Sweeney. She leaves to cherish her loving memories: one granddaughter, Evett Crowe (Larry) of Little Elm, Texas; one grandson, Leonard McKeith Hill, Sr. of Gatesville, Texas; one great granddaughter, Jaazlynne McGill Chambers (Dwight II) of Little Elm, Texas; one great grandson, Leonard McKeith Hill, Jr. of Dallas, Texas; two great-great grandsons, Dwight III “Trey” and Jace Chambers of Little Elm, Texas; one great-great granddaughter, Ja’Layah Ciyanni Hill of Dallas, Texas; one sister, Betty Culbreath of Dallas, Texas; one brother, Gregory McGowan, along with a host of other relatives and friends that loved her dearly.
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