Arthur “Art” F. Downing
Arthur “Art” F. Downing, passed away peacefully on March 18, 2020, at the age of 98. He was born to the late Arthur & Alma (Bessey) Downing on May 29, 1921, in Wausau, WI, and graduated from Wausau East High School in 1939. On July 16, 1943, he married Elizabeth (Betty) Peterson in Merrill, WI. Their union was blessed with four children; the late Arthur “Bud” Downing, Theodore “Ted” Downing, the late Nancy Beth Laabs, and Timothy “Tim” Downing Beppler. His wife, Betty, passed away unexpectedly on January 16, 1953, in Merrill. Art later married June (Severt) Nelson on June 5, 1956, in Merrill. His family then expanded to include June’s children, the late Roger Nelson, and Nancy Ann (Nelson) Priebe, and their son, Chris Downing. June passed away On September 26, 1984, in Merrill. Art was a veteran of World War II and served his country from 1943-1946 in the Pacific Theater, in the Merchant Marines and the U.S. Navy. He was discharged with the rank of Ensign. He was employed by the Albrant Freight Company in Merrill and later ran a very successful dairy farm until 1966. Art was then employed by the State of Wisconsin at Wales School for Boys and later at Lincoln Hills School for Boys until his retirement in 1985. In 1986, Art moved from Merrill to Arizona where he met and married Mildred (Smith) Moore on January 15, 1985. They resided in Arizona for many years and then relocated to Mildred’s home state of Nebraska. Mildred passed away on July 30, 2013, in Cambridge, NE. Art moved back to his home state of Wisconsin after Mildred’s passing. In his early years, Art enjoyed being a Scout Master for over 25 years in Merrill, figure skating, trout fishing, and traveling.
He is survived by his three sons, Ted (Marian) Downing, Tim (Katie) Beppler, and Chris Downing. A stepdaughter, Nancy Ann Nelson (Priebe), brother-in-law, Theodore “Ted”, Paula Haseman, daughter-in-law, Karen Downing, stepdaughter-in-law, Mari Nelson, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, great- grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, and his niece, Judy (Downing) Young. Art was preceded in death by his parents; his wives, Betty, June, and Mildred; his daughter, Nancy Beth Laabs; 1 son-in-law, Myron Laabs; his son, Arthur “Bud” Downing; stepson, Roger Nelson; stepson-in -law, Patrick “Pat” Priebe; his grandsons, Jon and Craig Downing; great-granddaughter, Sidney Laabs; his half-sister, Hazel (Behrens) Ruprecht; his half-brothers, George Behrens, William “Bill” Yankowski Downing, Delmar “Dell” Yankowski, and Raymond Yankowski.
A Celebration of Life for Art Downing will be held at a later date with interment to take place at Merrill Memorial Park. Generations Funeral Home and Crematory is assisting the family. Family and friends are encouraged to view Art’s obituary and leave online condolences at generationsfuneral.com.