Mary Dorothy Coone Downs
Mary Dorothy Coone Downs died Friday, October 10, 2008, in Carson City. She was 87 years old. She was a beloved wife, mother and grandmother and a Johnson Lane pioneer.
Mary was born Dec. 25, 1920, in Cheyenne, Wyo. after her older sister Loren ordered her out of a Sears Roebuck catalog. Mary cherished the fact that she was a Christmas baby. She was raised by her grandmother, Mary Keep Lewis, in a boarding house in Edmond, Okla. She met her husband, Walter Downs, when they were babies, but lost track of each other during their childhood. After graduating from Normal School in Edmond, Okla., she was accepted for admission to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for vocal studies but chose to attend college in Edmond.
Mary and Walter reconnected in Blythe, Calif. where she went to work at Maltby’s Cafe, which was owned by members of Walter’s family. They married in 1941 in Quartzsite, Ariz. and were married for 54 years. Walter passed away in 1996.
While Walter was shipped to Europe during World War II, Mary trained to be a “Rosy the Riveter”, in Los Angeles, Calif. During the war she mourned the loss of her beloved brother, John Coone, who was shot down in 1945 in a B-29 over Japan.
In 1955, the Downs family moved to Douglas County where they became one of the first families to homestead in the Johnson Lane area. Mary helped build their house and cultivate the land on the 160 acres while pregnant with her youngest child. From 1962 to 1982 she was an audit clerk for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Mary loved to sing and was a true fan of jazz. She was often humming Ella Fitzgerald songs and danced with Walt to Benny Goodman’s “Moonlight Serenade” at their 50th wedding anniversary.
She is survived by her son John Downs and his wife Karen Palmer of Henderson, Nev.; her daughter Denise Breese of Houston, Texas; her son Scott Downs and his wife Brenda Downs of Minden; her grandchildren Megan Downs of Merritt Island, Fla., and Brianne Berry and her husband Evan Berry of Reno. Mary also dearly loved her extended family members Wayne and Martha Brown, Lynn, Nikki, and Rachel Zacharias, Stacey, Pat, Dillon, and Hannah McKinnish, all of Gardnerville; and Linda Henson Coleman and the Henson family of Sacramento, Calif.
At this time no services are planned. Donations will be accepted at the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, P.O. Box 2911, 1255 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, Nevada 89410.