James “Jim” Ellison Downs was born in Columbus, on July 19, 1939. He passed away peacefully at his home in West Mineral on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at the age of 78.
A lifelong resident of southeast Kansas, he attended Columbus schools. He graduated from the Reisch American School of Auctioneering in 1957. At an early age he began driving grain trucks for local farmers and later began over-the-road trucking, which he did for most of his life. His work interests extended beyond trucking and into excavation and heavy machinery, where he owned Jim Downs Bulldozing, and in recent years operated a bulldozer for the EPA in several local projects.
Jim was truly one of a kind, and if you had the pleasure of meeting or knowing Jim, you undoubtedly have a Jim Downs story. He always had a new joke or witty saying to tell, a story about coyote hunting with airplanes, coon hunting, or his favorite pastime – fishing. He enjoyed collecting fishing rods, reels and tackle, and one of his greatest joys was giving a fishing pole to any child who he ran into who didn’t already own one. He recently completed the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Fishing’s Future course to become a Certified Angler Education Instructor with hopes to share his knowledge and passion for fishing with children.
Jim had a passion for animals and although she preceded him in death, he was rarely seen without his faithful Jack Russell Terrier, Ellie. The two were inseparable and spent countless hours together on the banks of strip pits fishing, in the semi, and on the bulldozer. In his younger years he enjoyed raising mules, and breaking horses.
Jim married Barbara (Parsons) Downs on November 22, 1982 in Miami, Okla.
Jim is survived by his wife of 35 years, Barbara, their two children Jaye Bea (Downs) Hawkins and son-in-law, Bryan Hawkins, Casey Downs, daughter-in-law Yongdan Li Downs and grandson Edwin Downs; his children from a previous marriage Marilyn Kay Wade and son-in-law Doug Wade, LeRoy Downs, Kathy Skahan, Karen Johnston and son-in-law Roger Johnston, Ernie Downs and daughter-in-law Chrystal Downs; stepson Mark Hopkins and daughter-in-law Melissa Hopkins; grandchildren Joe and Mary Walker, Nichole Conard, Renae Peine, Tyler Downs, Nathan Flinn, Ryan Skahan, Amanda Burton, Rusty Carlton, Morgan Swindell, Kalin Swindell, Joe Downs, Charlsea Downs, Brittany Hoag, Mark Hopkins, Jr, Ashley Argabright, Tess Hopkins, and Edwin Downs; numerous great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Roy and Lula (Fleming) Downs, his eldest son James “Jim” Downs, Jr, and son-in-law Gary Skahan.
A memorial service will take place on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 1 p.m. in the afternoon at Triple C Cowboy Church at the Weir Baptist Camp, 1148 NE Hwy 103 Weir, Kan. with Revered Delbert Calloway officiating.