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Osceola Sentinel-Tribune
Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Southwestern instructor identified

as fatality in Wednesday accident

Dick DOWNING, 51, of Osceola has been identified as the person who died in a two-vehicle accident reported 7:41 a.m. Wednesday on Highway 34 near the intersection of Highway 169 at Afton.

According to an Iowa State Patrol report, DOWNING, driving a 1991 Chevrolet pickup west on Highway 34, struck the rear of a 2009 Chevrolet SUV driven west on Highway 34 by Brandi SHAY, 35, of Tingley who had slowed prior to the collision.

According the Union County Sheriff's Department, there was another accident earlier farther west on Highway 34 at Creamery Road that was causing a backup of traffic on the highway. After DOWNING'S truck struck SHAY'S vehicle her vehicle spun into the eastbound lane where it came to rest.

The ISP report indicated SHAY was also injured, but no condition report was available.

DOWNING'S pickup is considered a total loss. Damage estimate to SHAY'S vehicle is $10,000.

DOWNING was a trades and industry carpentry instructor and SHAY is a business and information technology business instructor, both at Southwestern Community College in Creston.

The following statement was released by Southwestern Community College officials Wednesday afternoon:

"We were shocked and saddened by the news Dick DOWNING, Southwestern Community College carpentry instructor, had been fatally injured in an automobile accident. Dick had been employed at the college since 2005, when he started as instructor for the high school carpentry program in Osceola. In December 2006, Dick became instructor for the college carpentry program in Creston.

"In discussion and reflection among co-workers, it was noted Dick had a huge heart, a close relationship with his students, a great sense of humor, and a contagious laugh that was recognized across campus. Dick will be deeply missed at Southwestern by students and co-workers."

Osceola Sentinel-Tribune
Osceola, Clarke County, Iowa
Friday, May 6, 2011

OBITUARY ~ DICK DEAN DOWNING

June 23, 1959 ~ May 04, 2011

Services for Dick DOWNING, 51, of Osceola will be 10 a.m. Monday, May 9, at Kale Funeral Home, 301 S. Main St. Open visitation will be noon to 6 p.m. Sunday with family present 4 to 6 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be made at Green Bay Cemetery, Clarke County, Iowa.

Dick Dean DOWNING, son of the late Arlan DOWNING and Elva (PHILLIPS) DOWNING was born June 23, 1959 in Leon, Iowa and passed from this life Wednesday, May 4, 2011 as the result of injuries from an auto accident near Afton, Iowa. He was 51 years of age.

Dick graduated from Clarke Community High School in 1978. He then went on to graduate from Southwestern Community College in 1980 and from Truman State University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in education. Dick was united in marriage to Debra Ann LEEKA on July 31, 1982 in Osceola, and two sons blessed this union.

Dick taught school in the Amana School system and worked in the Amana Furniture shop for 5 years. In 1988 they moved back to the Osceola area where Dick worked as a carpenter and salesman. He eventually started Dick's Custom Woodworking, building custom cabinets and furniture. In 2001 he began working at I-35 Schools as the building and grounds and in 2005 returned to teaching at Southwestern Community College.

Dick started with SWCC as the instructor for the high school carpentry program in Osceola. In December 2006, Dick became instructor for the college carpentry program in Creston. Co-workers said Dick had a huge heart, a close relationship with his students, a great sense of humor, and a contagious laugh that was recognized across campus.

Dick enjoyed working with youth. He was a youth leader with the New Virginia United Methodist Church. He raised club lambs and enjoyed farming, hunting, old farm machinery, and fabricating implements. He was always tinkering with something, and enjoyed looking for old farm equipment with his sons.

Those relatives who preceded Dick in death were his father, Arlan; brother Dennis and father-in-law, Ival LaVere LEEKA.

He leaves to cherish his memory, wife Deb of Osceola; sons, Dennis DOWNING and his wife Ashley of Winterset and Ben DOWNING and girlfriend McKenzee BASS of Osceola; mother, Elva DOWNING of Osceola; brothers, Darwin DOWNING and friend Ann MARCH of Osceola; Doug DOWNING and wife Pam of Des Moines; David DOWNING and wife Cinda of Osceola; sister, Elizabeth "Beth" RAHN and her husband Brent of Columbia, MO; mother-in-law, Ramona LEEKA of Osceola, numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.

Dick was extremely proud of his family and oftentimes shared stories about what was happening in the DOWNING household with friends and coworkers. He will be greatly missed.

Memorials may be directed to his family for a fitting tribute to be decided at a later date.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, May of 2011

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