Bernice A. DOWNWARD
February 14, 1927 – December 23, 2020
On December 23, 2020, Bernice Downward passed away peacefully at age 93 after a brief illness. A nearly lifelong resident of Washington, she had moved to Aegis Living West Seattle in September of 2019. There Bernice reclaimed her childhood name of "Valentine" as she began what she called her last chapter in life. Valentine spent the last week in hospice watching her beloved golden oldies on TV (Bonanza, Gunsmoke and the Andy Griffith Show). She passed in her sleep after drifting off while listening to Christmas music.
As a child, Bernice lost both parents before the age of 3 years old. She literally was "shipped" all by herself on a train from Los Angeles, CA 1,600 miles to Seattle, WA to be adopted by her father's relatives. Her exploits as a tiny tot and orphan on this trip were charmingly chronicled by the Seattle Star Newspaper. To the day she passed away she said she could close her eyes and see the conductor on that train ride.
Bernice and her first husband Frederick Palmer were the parents to three children; Adrienne Palmer, Sheli Palmer Gaines and John Palmer. In 1971, Bernice got re-married to Ralph Downward. Ralph brought two grown daughters to the marriage. Ralph, who was a top executive for General Electric, entertained business clients extensively. Thus, Bernice became an outstanding hostess and held beautiful dinner parties in her home in Viewridge. They enjoyed being involved at the Sandpoint Country Club, going out to dinner at Canlis as well as taking many trips to Hawaii. They also loved great music and dancing. They had season tickets to all husky games, the opera and ballet.
Bernice was an exceptional wife and mother. She cared deeply for her family and neighbors. She did this not out of obligation, but because of who she was. She was always the first to offer help. She regularly brought meals to the home of sick neighbors. It is not unusual then and now that many people considered Bernice to be a surrogate mother and grandmother.
Bernice was also very involved in the Wedgewood Presbyterian Church where she was a member and Deaconess and helped with the landscape and flower beds. Bernice supported many local intuitions she supported Children’s Hospital, as well as helping advertise the Greek Festival every fall at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Bernice even cooked ad baked at the festival.
Bernice had a green thumb and her yard was proclaimed by the State of Washington as a bird sanctuary. She took pride in this. She spent hours in her yard and enjoyed all of God’s creatures who enjoyed it with her.
She was predeceased by her husband Ralph Downward, daughter Adrienne Palmer and step-daughter Delores Carbah. In total, Bernice had five grandchildren Tamara Roche, Daniel Davis, Jesse Davis, Kevin Davis and Tyler Davis, five great-grandchildren Kayden Davis, Colton Davis, Sophie Davis, Jack Davis, Keegan Davis and one great-grandchild on the way. She is also survived by step-daughter Barbara Downward.
In lieu of a service or flowers, Bernice asked that donations be made to Children's Hospital: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/giving/donate/
- Seattle Children's Hospital