Rylee Nicole (Hanks) Downs was a caring daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. She
left this world suddenly on Jan. 14, 2022, with her mother and unborn child at the age 27.
Rylee was born to Wade and Hattie Hanks on Sept. 5, 1994. She was a sister to
Darrick. Rylee married her best friend, Justin Downs, on Jan. 3, 2022. Their marriage
brought together children Jax and Ellianna.
After graduating from Crawford High School, Rylee first attended Western Nebraska
Community College for basketball. She completed her education at Chadron State College where she received a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education. Children made Rylee’s life whole.
Rylee started her career by teaching 3rd grade at Martin Luther King Elementary in
Omaha, Nebraska. She then decided to move back to western Nebraska to be close to her family, where she enjoyed substitute teaching. Here she brought into the world her greatest joy, Ellianna, born on Aug. 3, 2020.
Rylee loved being a mother first and foremost. She was competitive in everything she
participated in, including: sports, video games (Crash Bandicoot, Call of Duty), and anything
involving her cousins and friends. Rylee enjoyed fishing, outdoor activities and sports talk with
her family. After the birth of Ellianna, Rylee and Hattie spent endless hours laughing and
enjoying life together with Ellianna. She also enjoyed Grandma Dottie Days, family trips, being around children, animals, friends, and listening to Cardi B and Juice World.
Rylee is survived by her husband Justin Downs of Chadron, step-son Jax Downs,
daughter Ellianna Collins, father Wade Hanks of Crawford, brother Darrick and Lacie Hanks of
Mullen, grandparents: Gene and Dottie Peters of Hay Springs, Ron and Marianne Hanks of Hay
Springs, aunts and uncles: Dee Dee (Peters) and Randy Ray of Hay Springs, Cory and Tia
Hanks of Hay Springs, Lynn and Teri Hanks of Crawford, Todd and Jennifer Peters of Mullen,
cousins: Hannah Ray, Levi Ray, Chris Ray, Haley (Hanks) and Jesse Savala, Erica Peters, Jacob
Hanks, Brandon Peters, Sadie Hanks, and many dear friends.
In lieu of flowers, contributions towards Ellianna’s medical expenses will be greatly