Dale Downing, age 84, beloved father and husband, and friends with everyone in the community, passed away quietly on January 24th, 2023, in Gordon.
Dale is survived by his brother, Dwain Downing, his daughter, Julie Downing, of Ft. Collins, his son, Scott, of Gordon, and Grandchildren Skyler Downing, Jacob and Megan Downing, Matthew Downing, Michael Downing, and great granddaughter Jubilee Downing along with many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Dale was born in Gordon Nebraska on April 1st, 1938, to Fern (Macaully) and Walter Downing. He grew up on the family ranch in Cherry County and attended the Pioneer School and Gordon High School where he was an All-State Football tight end for the Broncs. He graduated in 1955.
After joining the US Post Office in 1956, Dale was drafted and served two years in the US Army, serving with the 3rd Infantry at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. After marrying Ann Osborn of Hay Springs, Nebraska he returned home in 1959 and returned to the Post Office until he retired in 1994 after 35 years of service.
Dale was an avid fisherman and hunter and knew every inch of Sheridan and Cherry County like the back of his hand. Most days after his retirement, if the weather was nice, and many that it wasn’t, would find him at a local lake in his boat, fishing with longtime friends, sharing stories about the best place to catch a Crappie, or the big one that got away.
Dale spent many years in conservation activities around the country. As part of Pheasants Forever, he raises game birds for the State of Nebraska, releasing thousands of birds around the country. He planted thousands of trees, donating his time and equipment to bring green to the area. He mentored FFA and 4H kids, taught Hunter’s Safety, and supported the High School athletic teams. He never missed a home football game, parking at the north end of the field, listening to KSDZ give the play by play.
At 6 am, 10 am, and 3 pm, you could find Dale having coffee with ‘the guys’, a tradition that started in the 1950s. The location had changed a few times over the decades, but the same faces were always there. They would talk about the weather, cattle prices, sports scores, and rib each other over good-natured jokes.
In December of 2022, he fell ill with the flu. On January 10th due to symptoms that would not go away, he went to a doctor’s appointment. It was found that he had late-stage cancer in the kidney, back and colon.
He chose not to take treatments and when into hospice care at Countryside manor in Gordon. He passed in the early morning of January 24th, two weeks after his diagnosis. His family and friends were at his bedside at the end.
Dale requested that any service for him be held in the summer, and per his request, the Memorial Service is planned for 10 am, June 17th, 2023, at the First Presbyterian Church in Gordon, NE. Visitation will be held Wednesday June 14 and Thursday June 15, 2023, from 4 to 7PM at Dale's residence, 1954 660th Road, Gordon, NE. Dale requested that a memorial gifting to the Nebraska Children’s Home be offered by any that wish to do so.
Cards and letters may be sent to Scott Downing, 717 North Main Street, Gordon NE 69343
His passing leaves a great emptiness in the hearts of the many that knew him and he will be sadly missed.