Beverly Stout ’48 Downs
Beverly Jeane Downs reposed peacefully in the Lord on February 21, 2022 at the age of 95. She was born in Los Angeles to Harry and Gladys Stout and went to high school in Beverly Hills with all the movie stars. As a teenager she encountered Christ at a Holy Friday service and the experience changed her life. While attending Cal Berkeley she met Richard Downs and they were married in 1947.
They moved to Holland, Michigan and attended Hope College, where their children Susan and David were born. Their church community in Holland were very supportive of the young family. After both of them graduated from Hope College they attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. They were committed to serving God through Wycliffe Bible Translators. They learned translation at the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Norman, OK and then were sent to the jungles of Chiapas, Mexico to live with a tribe of Tzeltal Mayan people 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. The young woman raised in Beverly Hills loved her life there. She had a great sense of humor and nerves of steel to cope with difficult situations in a third world country. The young family was then sent to Mindanao, Philippines to the Agusan Manobo people and again the local language became a written language. When Richard became sick in Manila, Jeane was the one traveling up and down the Agusan River in a dugout canoe to transport her children, with the help of a couple local men.
Due to illness the family flew back to the States and settled in Scotts Valley California, and then bought a house in Felton using a Cal Vet loan from Richard’s days in the Army. They both obtained teaching credentials and Jeane taught second grade at San Lorenzo Valley Elementary. They adopted two infants Mari and Mike who were born 40 days apart, which was quite an exciting time for the family. Richard took a sabbatical year and the family moved to El Salvador where he taught in a school for embassy and military kids.
After returning to Felton, Jeane kept busy teaching Bible studies to women’s groups. She taught knitting to the women inmates at the Santa Cruz County jail. She volunteered through ESL (English as a Second Language) to teach Latina women to read and write English and would visit them in their homes in the Beach Flats. She would usually come home with a bag full of homemade tamales, her favorite.
Jeane made lifelong friends wherever she went, and had a big heart. She received letters from all over the world from people that she had touched in some way, including financial support of orphans in other countries. She was always positive, upbeat and happy. She brought light and laughter with her wherever she went, with her quick wit and fine English vocabulary. She dedicated her life to serving God with a joyful heart. Richard died in 2018 and she missed him dearly and looked forward to being reunited with him. Even in her final years with some dementia she stayed busy by reading books from her huge library, and writing lists of places around the world she would still like to visit and who she wanted to go with her. She devoted her life to helping others and serving God.
A week before she died a group of friends came over and sang all her favorite hymns and she sang along, remembering all the words of all the verses. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Eph 5:19-20.
Beverly Jeane is survived by her two daughters Susan Johnson and Mari Rossi. Her son-in-laws, Fr. Nathaniel Johnson and Edward Rossi. Her grandchildren; Myrophora, Sara, Dejon, Stephen, Catherine, Luca, Justin, and great grandson Sava.