William Downs Jr
Oct. 14, 1924 — July 17, 2013
William Harold Downs Jr., 88, died peacefully in College Place on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Harold, as he was known, was born Oct. 14, 1924, in Advent Gulch just north of Cambridge, Idaho, to William Harold Downs Sr., and Doris Parsons Downs. Harold attended school in both Cambridge, Idaho, and the Walla Walla Valley. Drafted into the military in 1943, he circled the globe on three ships over the course of his service. He was a dental technician and intended to pursue a dental career. Alta Riffle, whom he’d met at grade school in Walla Walla, had corresponded with him while he was overseas. After Harold’s service was over, he and Alta were married Sept. 8, 1946, in Walla Walla.
Harold decided to pursue work as a mechanic, so he and Alta moved to Chicago in 1950 so he could earn certification as a Ford mechanic. Back in Walla Walla that same year, Harold applied his skills as mechanic, at first independently, then as an employee of the City of College Place. He and Alta had two daughters, Deanna and Brenda, and built a family home in Walla Walla, where they lived for nearly 50 years. He later traveled as a salesman for United Oil, but he always worked on cars and motorcycles, which he’d either sell or give away to friends and family.
He devoted much of his time to the Walla Walla City SDA Church, helping to build its new facilities in 1970 and teaching in the youth classrooms for several decades. He and his children and grandchildren enjoyed many adventures together out in nature, exploring the Northwest and beyond. Harold enjoyed long motorcycle trips, seeing as many natural wonders as possible. Music was a passion for Harold, and he loved to play his guitar, banjo and harmonica for family and friends and later at nursing homes and the fairgrounds with a group he formed called “Harold & Friends.” He was always unselfish, kind and generous, treating new acquaintances just like family. He lived by the Golden Rule and set a great example for generations of his family. Harold has touched so many lives and he will be remembered for his kindness and his devotion to helping others throughout his life.
He is preceded in death by his sister, Aletha “Darlene” Lawson (Cliff) of Walla Walla. He is survived by his youngest sister, Jacque Goodhew (Larry) of Walla Walla; loving wife, Alta of nearly 67 years at home in Walla Walla; daughters, Deanna Riffle (Richard) of Walla Walla, and Brenda Kell (Reid) of Hillsboro, Ore.; grandchildren, Corey Hallsted (Marielle) of Seattle, Peter Moller (Amy) of Dayton, Ohio, Brandon Hallsted (Mandy) of College Place, Stefanie Flerchinger (Steve) of Walla Walla, Morgen Crumpacker of Portland, Jordan Kell (Malia) of Hillsboro, Ore., James Lewis of Gresham, Ore., and Kadesha Riffle, Cloe Riffle and Deven Riffle of Walla Walla; as well as seven great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
The memorial service will be held Saturday, July 20, 2013, at the Walla Walla City SDA Church at 3 p.m. with Pastor Mark Etchell officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Adventist Disaster Relief Agency through Professional Funeral Director & Crematory, 2112 S. Second Ave., Walla Walla, WA. Family and& friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.herringgroseclose.net.