June 16, 1932 – October 27, 2018
Joseph Lee Downs, 86, of Quincy died unexpectedly Oct. 27, 2018.
Lee was born June 16, 1932, to Arthur and Birdie C. Hunt Downs in Smithfield, Cache County, Utah. He was the 11th child of 12, the eighth son. He was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lee grew up in Smithfield, learning to work alongside his father and brothers in the fields. He had a heart for farming early on. He graduated from North Cache High School and still attended high school reunions. He was an FFA North Cache Chapter president and a Star State Farmer, loved state conventions, received a Gold in Dairy Judging, Team Gold in Livestock Judging at Nationals in Iowa. The highlight was traveling there, in “Mr. Bair’s new Hudson” taking turns driving.
Lee met Mary Boman while they were attending North Cache High. They were married June 29, 1951, in the Logan Temple. From the beginning, they were like-minded in the goal of raising a family and farming for a living. In 1954 they left Cache Valley, grabbing that opportunity to develop their own farm in the Quincy Valley. Life was hard and work was hard in those early years for everyone. They moved here leaving family behind. This is where Lee and Mary would raise their family. Quincy would remain home for the rest of his life.
Early on he was progressive and embraced the advances in farming, seeing the success it brought. But more than that, Lee deeply believed in the value of farmers working together to better themselves and to receive true market value for their livestock and commodities.
Lee had a heart for service and was a 40-plus-year member of the Grant County 4-H and FFA Livestock Sale Association. He was honored with the Lee Solum Memorial award from the sale association, in recognition of his dedication to Grant County youth. As a founding board member of the North Central Washington Jr. Livestock Show, he worked to eventually have 4-H and FFA youth from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana come together to compete, showcase and receive good compensation for their livestock projects. He made the show experience a positive one for several generations.
Lee loved his large family and would say of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren “I love them all and each one is my favorite.” He loved his nieces and nephews. He attended countless school athletic events. He had a great love for flag and country. He thought for himself. He loved to explore the Columbia Basin, taking old roads, side roads to known destinations. He treasured his friendships formed over the years.
He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Boman Downs, son Jim Downs, grandson Eli Downs and infant great-grandson Gabriel. He is survived by brother Bob Downs, Hyde Park, Utah; sons John Downs (Claudia) of Murray, Utah, Tom Downs (Ann) of Quincy and Joseph Downs (Sharel) of East Wenatchee; daughters Peggy Downs of Seattle, MaryAnn Ramirez (Efrain) of Cheney, Nancy Combs of Quincy, Bee Downs of Moses Lake, and Beckie Torgersen (Byron) of Gilbert, Ariz. and 26 grandchildren and 51 great-grandchildren.
The family would like to invite you to viewing on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 5-7 p.m. at Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel, 300 G St. SE, Quincy, Wash. and on Friday Nov. 9 from 10:30-11:45 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1101 Second Ave SE, Quincy, Wash. A celebration of life service will follow at 12 noon. Concluding services will follow in the Quincy Valley Cemetery, Quincy, Wash.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign their online guestbook at www.scharbachs.com. Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel, Quincy, Wash. is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.