Ronald Alan Downing
January 8, 1947 – June 5, 2021
Ronald Alan Downing was born in Santa Clara, California to Clara Lee (di) Castro and Donald Ned Downing. His Mom was an immigrant to the United States and one of thirteen (13) kids, raised Roman Catholic, of Portuguese descent from Madeira Island above Morocco. She was raised primarily in the sugar canes fields of Pearl City, Oahu and then later in Santa Clara, California. His father, from a town of less than 100 people in Wilmore, Kansas was one of seven (7) kids who worked a farm; a staunch Methodist of Swiss, Irish & Welsh ancestry, he was a World War II Veteran who served all four years in combat in Europe on the front lines, ruck marched from Normandy to Bastogne, to Grafenwoehr… and came home missing a thumb with a Purple Heart and a bronze star.
Early on in life, “Ronnie,” as everyone called him, developed a skill for basketball and wrestling. He attended Bucsher High School and lettered in those sports. He worked hard at his parents Snow White Drive-In and learned the ethos of hard work from both of his parents.
He was blessed to have three children: Denise Marie, Donald Lawrence and Aimeé Lynn, and in 1987 he was again blessed with three step children from his wife Flora: Albert Matthew, Michael (?Anthony?) and Andrew James.
Some of his favorite sports teams were the San Francisco Forty Niner’s, The Warriors and The Oakland A’s. He loved San Jose State Football, and Earthquakes Soccer because his Dad taught carpentry there and Ronnie was a big proponent of picking a team from a loyal standpoint. He loved to fish, to hunt, to camp, to go to Disneyland and to go to the casino. You could often times wander into the house with an extra loud TV blaring to sports or the news networks, sometimes some colorful language involved. He loved the color green and he would eat steak and potatoes every day if you let him get away with it.
Ronnie began his modest beginning’s working for his parents at their Snow White Drive-In, but soon went to work for Ford Motor Company assembling parts. This was not the perfect job for him, so his longtime childhood best friend, Bill Cavalieri helped him to secure a better job at Stauffer Chemical Corp. He began in the field by watering plants and learning everything he could. He worked his way from the fields to the laboratory of now ICI Chemical Plant to Senior West Coast Biologist of Astra-Zeneca. He was employed for nearly 30 years upon his retirement. He was very proud that he could claim work on almost all the major crops in the United States of America, an impressive feat for a guy that barely finished high school and was dyslexic, but don’t let that fool you…he was sharp as a tack and didn’t want any slack. His work ethic played into opening his own Limousine business, “Bella Limousine,” named after Grandma Bella, where he would pick up celebrities, politicians, athletes and the generally wealthy populous.
Ronnie played the lotto often, and would often say, “If I win, I’m going on a vacation.” He loved to joke around. He could recite all of the latest sports statistics, and he loved to debate politics. Ronnie was a very accomplished man. He fought his way to the top of a chemical empire and proudly displayed his knowledge when asked. He was a farmer at heart, with a green thumb. He always had an avocado tree and once grafted three types of apples into one tree. When asked what job he would have taken instead of Biologist, he said, “I want to be a truck driver so I can see all of America.” He was always up for a good drive, but rest assured if he said, “let’s go for a little ride” you had better utilize the facilities and get a snack because it was likely you would end up in another State.
Ronnie was a pretty serious guy. He was a man’s-man, a sportsman and if he shook your hand and looked you in the eye and said he was doing something, he would do it. He believed that the “integrity of a man is his word.” He was usually quiet and listened a lot, but when he had something to say he would definitely put it out there, he was a bit shy and emotional but hid that from the world, and often called his family and friends to check on them. He spent a good deal of time on FaceTime calling his daughter while she was deployed and liked to hear about her legal cases and thereafter to see her house being built and her huge vegetable garden, his daughter Denise who he bragged on about her accomplishments at the EPA, his sister Donna, his best friend Bill (whom he often looked for at the Santa Clara Legion Hall) and his sons: AJ (whom he loved and respected very highly) Donnie (who he often discussed and loved dearly), Michael (who took up farming and became very good at it and loved) and Albert (who was a staunch Raiders fan and swayed Ronnie into liking and loved). His grandson Ryan loved calling on the iPad so they could makes faces at each other while no one saw…or better yet, while they both thought we weren’t looking. He was loved by his Wife, his kids, and his numerous grandchildren who all called him “Poppa.” He will be sorely missed.
May God Bless his Soul and he Rest in Everlasting Peace.
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Santa Clara Mission Cemetery
Ronald Alan Downing
Susan Downing -Jacobs
June 18, 2021
Only remember us being at Grandpa Marvin Downing's house when kids a couple times. RIP and have fun with the rest of the family in Heaven and we will see each other again someday.
Hugs and Prayers for your kids and their families.
Susan Downing Lawson
June 17, 2021
A Tribute to my Brother
Today you earned your wings to fly with the angels.
Even though I haven’t seen you in years, I have loved you all my life.
You were my big brother, all those childhood memories, you pumping me on your bike to the store, so we can get penny candies.
You babysitting me during the summer.
You were 6 years older than me, and you were my protector.
So Big Brother Rest In Peace!
Love Suzie (What you always called me.)
Aimee Downing Furr
June 17, 2021
Hey Dad, I love you so much. My heart hurts for losing you but I know it was your time to go with your angels up to see your family in Heaven. Thank you for always being my best friend, my side kick, my protector and my Dad. I will make sure to honor you everyday until we meet again. Save me a place~
June 17, 2021
Ron you will be greatly missed so much enjoyed the time you and Flora took us up those crazy roads and the pier in Cali and when you visited ElPaso and we watched football and drank wine my heart felt condolences to the family R.I.P my friend