Mary Downs

Mary DownsMary Frances Downs, 92, of Rushville died at 7:15 a.m. Oct. 25, 2011, at Culbertson Memorial Hospital in Rushville.

She was born Jan. 8, 1919, in Brown County, Illinois, a daughter of Lawrence and Carrie Allen Fuqua. She married John Harlan Downs in June 1966, in Murphysboro. He preceded her in death on Oct. 7, 1991.

She also was preceded in death by one grandson, Kevin Allen Turner; and three sisters, Lillian Ross, Laura Toland and Marjorie Beghtol.

Surviving are one daughter, Linda (and John) Turner Barker of Table Grove; two stepsons, Norman (and Elaine) Downs of St. Peters, Mo., and Raymond (and Karen) Downs of Tillamook, Ore.; two sisters, Jeanne (and Jerry) Thurman and Joanne Grate, both of Rushville; two grandchildren; eight step grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren.

She was a registered nurse and worked for five years at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria. She later worked as a private-duty nurse and director of nursing at Culbertson Memorial Hospital. For 17 years, she was a ward supervisor at VA Medical Center in Marion, retiring in 1981.

She was a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Rushville, where she served as a Sunday school teacher, deacon and chairwoman of Christian Women's Fellowship.

She served on the boards of the HELP Center and RSVP and the original board of Schuyler County Food Basket.

She was a member of Eastern Star for over 50 years, Schuyler American Legion Auxiliary, Schuyler Jail Museum and Genealogical Center in Rushville. She also was a 4-H leader in Schuyler County for many years. In 1993, she served as the Smiles Day Parade marshall.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Wood Funeral Home in Rushville with Reverend John Sowers officiating. Burial will follow in Rushville City Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the Mary Downs Nursing Scholarship.

Condolences may be sent to


Published in the Astoria South Fulton Argus on 10/26/2011