Bill was born on Aug. 26, 1925, in Rock Island, one of six sons of Harry and Mary Downing. He graduated from Rock Island High School in 1942.
He began working at the family business, Downing Brothers Dairy (later known as Downing's All-Star Dairy), in 1938, at the age of 13, and after serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he returned in 1946 to work at the dairy. That year, he met the love of his life, Rita L. Shaughnessy. They were married in Chicago on Oct. 19, 1946, and this past October celebrated their 66th anniversary.
They had two sons, Michael W. Downing (Pamela L.), White Bear Lake, Minn., and Dennis J. Downing (Dianna), Monterey, Mass; and four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
After a 40-year career as plant manager at Downing All-Star Dairy, he worked for another 10 years at the Rock Island Arsenal as procurement officer. He retired from the U.S. Army in January 1988 and he and Rita moved to Pine Island Cove on Pine Island, Fla. in 1990. He greatly enjoyed his friendships at Pine Island Cove and especially enjoyed playing baseball, bocce and bowling with the guys. He was a Cubs fan and a member of the Pine Island Elks, Pine Island Moose and Pine Island American Legion.
A great man, a great father and a great role model, he will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.
Rock island, IL Details
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