March 24, 1924May 11, 2019

Downer, Reuben Brawner

Born March 31, 1924 in Orange County Virginia to Brawner and Gladys Downer. Went to be with our Lord in Heaven May 11, 2019. Preceded in death by mother Gladys Payne Downer, father Brawner Downer Sr, wife Mary Lois Downer, daughter Carolyn Liston, and his beloved cousin James Lee Hawthorne. Survived by son Richard Lee (Kathy) Downer of Atlanta, GA (grandchildren Lee, Joe, Sarah, Noah, Philip, Peter, great grandchildren Lily, Wrenn, Colt, Nicolas, Keenan, Catalina), son Robert Edward (Nancy) Downer of Pell City, AL (grandchildren Jessica, Alicia, Jarrod and great grandchild Braxton), grandchildren Joey Liston of Mercer PA, Thom Liston of Birmingham, AL, Dan Liston of Stuarts Draft, VA and great grandchildren Joeylynn and Dannie, sister Ginny Lee Williams of Denver, CO (93) (children Payne and Michael), sister Nancy Carol Sherwood of Orange, VA (84) (children Henry, John, Angela, Dan), Longtime active member of the Amos Kirby class at Woodlawn Methodist Church in Birmingham Alabama and active member of the Ambassador class at Gardendale Mt. Vernon Church. He maintained many long-lasting relationships from each church. Proud serviceman in the United States Navy during WWII on LST 446. He served his country as one of our greatest generation in the South Pacific on several invasions and occupations including the occupation of Japan at the end of the war. He was honorably discharged at the end of his service. He was a proud employee of Sears and Roebuck for 39 years until his retirement in 1986. His last position was the service shop manager at the Omega Street facility in Birmingham. His time at Sears provided him with some of his best friendships and lifelong memories. He was a proud member of the Sivertones. They were a musical band comprised of Sears employees that played at different Sears events and at me members houses. Born in Orange, Virginia as a two-pound preemie he wasn’t given much chance to live in 1924. However, he defied the doubts of some and lived a long and wonderful life to the age of 95. One of his greatest achievements was his love for family. No greater love has been known than the love he had for his wife of 60 years, Mary Lois Downer. They met in Birmingham and wed in Columbus, MS. He was a loving and caring person who was proud of the accomplishments of all three of his children, their children and grandchildren. He taught his children to be honest, hardworking and productive members of society and they all loved him dearly. Referred to through his life as Brawner, Brawner Jr., Bruno, Reuben, Rube, Old Man Downer, he was best known simply as Dad.


  • Visitation Sunday, May 12, 2019
  • Funeral Service Monday, May 13, 2019



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John Wyatt

May 13, 2019

This is Reuben's nephew, John. I am sorry that I could not be at the funeral. I have fond memories of seeing Uncle Brauener during family visits to Virginia. I did not see him very often in recent years.I am glad I had the chance to spend some time with him a few years ago in Denver.

Yesterday, my mother (his sister Nancy) told me how when Brauner was born prematurely, the doctor did not think he would live. Mama Payne asked the doctor why he did not give my grandmother a heated brick to help keep Brauner warm and he replied "what's the use, he won't make it anyhow". Of course, we are all glad he did make it.

Best wishes and sympathy,

John Wyatt