Richard T. Downes ’57 died on August 17, 2023, in Champion, Ohio.
(The following was provided by the Tribune Chronicle on August 20, 2023)
CHAMPION — Richard “Dick” Thornton Downes Sr., 88, left his earthly home and went to Heaven, on Thursday, August 17, 2023. His wife, children, and grandchildren experienced his homegoing together.
He was born in West Hartford, Conn., on April 9, 1935, the second child of three children of Dr. William Gardner Downes Jr. and Alma Thoren Downes.
He was married to Joan Alta Conway, of Maple Heights, for sixty-three years. Together they brought up their three children, Cynthia Joyce Stone, Richard (Monica) Thornton Downes Jr. and Lonnie (Xavier) Esther Downes Ugarte.
Dick entered the Army and later received a medical discharge. After graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine, Dick went to work for Mutual of New York as a training / sales assistant specialist in Cleveland, where he met Joan Conway. She and her father gave Dick Bible verses about how Jesus Christ had taken our place on the cross, paying for all our sins. After much studying of scripture to prove them wrong, he saw for himself that the Bible is true, and he believed in Christ alone by faith alone.
He married Joan a year later and was promoted to manager of Mutual of New York in Minneapolis.
He had many interests and moved his family to New Hampshire, and founded R.T. Downes Construction. He built a Christian campground, Bethel Woods, which means, “Place of God in the Woods.”
Over the years they lived in Rochester, N.Y. ,and Clearwater, Fla., but his mind and heart were always fixed on studying and teaching the Bible. He had taught the difficult book of Revelation many times, teaching also in many churches, Bible conferences, seminars and city halls, all of this while working and being a wonderful father and husband.
Dick belonged to Calvary Bible Church in Cortland, where he taught an adult Bible class each Sunday.
Besides spending time with family, he enjoyed watching his favorite Boston sports teams and spending time in the woods.
He is survived by his wife, Joan; their three children; fourteen grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren; as well as his sister, Lynda (Fred) Downes Brown; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved cat, Cookies.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his older brother, William G. Downes III.