Robert John "Bob" Downey
Robert John "Bob"
Downey, 90, passed very peacefully of natural causes on Monday evening, April 20, 2020. Due to the state and federal guidance on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family will not be having public services at this time. A private family graveside service will be conducted by the Rev. David O'Connor at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. A Memorial Mass and full Celebration of Life will be held when permitted. Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Marion is assisting the family.
With his work finished here, Bob is now with his beloved wife Joann looking out for their family from above. While physically separated since Joann's passing in 2011, she remained ever by his side, in his thoughts and actions. Their eight children referred to them lovingly as "R.J. and Joannie." This held deep meaning for the family as it represented their closeness. They worked tirelessly, side by side, their entire lives. Together they built a highly successful State Farm Agency, with Joann as his partner and office manager.
Bob was born on July 24, 1929, to Joseph Downey and Hildagard (Pieck) Downey in Pony Hollow, Iowa, just outside of Elkader. Bob had great memories of being raised in the beautiful rolling hills of Clayton County, or "the hill country" as he called it. He loved the beauty of the area and liked to go back often to visit. Bob loved showing his children where he jumped out the school window to escape a teacher's wrath, as well as his many boyhood homes throughout the county, and sites which held great memories for him. He was an outstanding baseball player in high school. Losing his mother at a young age, he and his father bonded over the great sport of baseball. Bob was a key player on the 1947 Monona state championship team. He was subsequently offered a scholarship to play for Iowa State Teachers College (UNI). Bob met the love of his life, Joann Elizabeth Funk, in 1949, while on leave from the U.S. Army. They were married July 4, 1951, at St. Mark's Church in Edgewood, and enjoyed 60 wonderful years of marriage.
Together they raised, with unconditional love, eight children: Kathy (Terry) Mohwinkle, Trish (Anthony) Vilutis, Teresa (Clark) White, Mike (Colleen) Downey, Don (Marilynne) Downey, Kurt (Deb) Downey, John (Cathy) Downey and David (Wendy) Downey; who blessed them with 23 wonderful grandchildren, Ryan, Chad, Jennifer, Brendan, Caleb, Brody, Justus, Austin, Luke, Chloe, Victoria, Zach, Josh, Nick, Mitch, Mathew, Kelli, Annie, Joe, Emily, Will, Tom and his buddy, Jack. They often refer to themselves collectively as "the cousins" due to their closeness to one another. He also leaves 12 great-grandchildren.
Bob's great loves were Joann, his family, baseball, The Milwaukee Road (1949 until 1963), State Farm (1963-1998), golf and his many friends. Bob was a man of strong Catholic faith and did a great deal of volunteer work for St. Joseph Catholic Church and Regis schools, as well as Mt. Mercy University, Mercy Hospital and the American Cancer Society.
Bob coached all five of his boys in the Marion Kids League. Kids eagerly played for him, knowing they would compete, have fun and play no matter what. Bob often said his days coaching baseball were some of the best times of his life, and throughout the years had many past players approach him as adults to thank him for the experience and for making them lifelong baseball fans. His innate sense of fairness was as deep-seated as his faith in God.
Bob grew in grace over his final years of declining health. He was always smiling and sharing kind words with his family, friends and the wonderful and loving staff of Cottage Grove. The family is very grateful for the compassion, commitment and great care the entire staff showed him over the years. Bob was slow to complain about life or his infirmities, but instead chose to share his good humor with others.
Bob accomplished many things in life. He was an outstanding father, friend, baseball player, coach and insurance agent. However, nothing compared to his greatest accomplishment, finding the love of his life and guiding light, Joann. She was the rock upon which the family was built. He carried on her wish of keeping the family united to one another. We thank God they are united once again.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation in honor of Bob and Joann Downey, c/o David Downey at P.O. Box 946, in Marion, IA 52302.
Please share a memory of Bob at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.