Richard Downs ’50

Richard C. Downs left this earthly life December 7, 2018 at the age of 92. He was born and raised in Redwood City, CA to Perry and Edna Downs.

He put his trust in his Heavenly Father while a student at Cal, Berkeley. Shortly after he met and married his beloved Jeane. Richard served in the Army during WW II. After his discharge they attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan where Susan and David were born. Friends and neighbors in the Hope community noticed their poverty and left packages of food on the back porch many times.

The family then moved to Chicago where the young couple attended Moody Bible Institute, and committed themselves to serving God. They learned translation at the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Norman, OK and were sent to the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico with Wycliffe Bible Translators. The young family lived with a tribe of Tzeltal Mayan Indians who had no written language. After 6 years the language was written, with portions of the New Testament, and there was a thriving local church. They were then sent to Mindanao, Philippines to the Agusan Manobo people and again the local language became a written language. After suffering illness, Richard and the family moved to Scotts Valley and then bought a house in Felton. Here Richard fulfilled his lifelong dream to adopt, and they adopted infants Mari and Michael. Richard and Jeane taught in local public schools until they both retired.

He was a tough but loving and popular teacher and many students came to visit years later to thank him for inspiring them to work hard and pursue their goals. Richard faithfully led a Bible study and sang hymns every month with the men at the Pajaro Rescue Mission for many years. He led countless other Bible studies in churches they attended and hosted fellowship groups in their home. When people would ask wasn’t it hard to live in jungles in third world countries he would reply that it is all joy to follow God’s will for your life and he would wish the same for you.

He leaves behind his beloved wife of 71 years Jeane, daughter Susan and son-in-law Father Nathaniel, grandchildren nun Sister Myrophora, Stephen Johnson, Sara and Dejon Lunsford, great-grandchildren Alonah and Cearius, daughter Mari and son-in-law Edward Rossi, and grandchildren Luca Fitzgerald and Justin Wowak. He was preceded in death by his sons David Timothy and Michael Jon. A funeral service was performed at St Lawrence Orthodox Church and burial at Felton Cemetery. Contributions in memory of Richard may be made to the Hospice of Santa Cruz for their kind and thoughtful caregivers that helped make it possible for him to die in his own home.

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