R. Neale Downing

R. Neale Downing, 87, of Harpers Ferry died Monday, September 10, 2018 at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon. A celebration of life was held Saturday, September 15 at Martin Funeral Home in Waukon with military honors. Inurnment was in Smithfield Cemetery, rural Monona.

Roger Neale Downing was born April 10, 1931 in Waukon, the son of Vern and Bernice (Stafford) Downing. After graduating from Waukon High School, Neale entered the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1951-1954, and was stationed in Korea. He was honorably discharged and returned home. Neale received his bachelor’s degree from Luther College in Decorah and then his master’s degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Neale moved to Chicago, IL with his wife and family and started his career at Arthur Andersen as a CPA for several years before working for LaGrange State Bank in the Chicago area as the Controller, working his way up to be the Senior Vice President of Operations. Neale had started his own accounting practice from home while he worked at the bank and eventually opened up his own accounting firm in Western Springs, IL. In the early 1980s, Neale moved back to Iowa and built a home in the Cedar Valley subdivision, which he owned and developed in Harpers Ferry.

For another 10 years, he would still commute to Western Springs for his CPA business all while starting his adventures in real estate around the Iowa area. One of these adventures was the purchase of the Pink Elephant Restaurant in Marquette in the 1990s, which he eventually sold to the Miss Marquette riverboat casino.
Neale belonged to the American Legion and received a Quilt of Valor. He loved taking fishing trips on the Mississippi River and to Canada as well as spending time at his cabin on the river. Throughout his life he was quite an athlete, playing baseball, racquetball, bowling and dancing. He also enjoyed building houses, playing cards, traveling, and going to “the Boat” was probably his favorite activity.

With his 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor, he liked mowing and maintaining his developments at “The Valley” and “The Point”, which gave him the opportunity to visit with neighbors and friends. Neale was very proud of his children and grandchildren and he will be in his family’s hearts forever.

Neale is survived by his significant other of 25 years, Sheryl Smith of Harpers Ferry; his children: Steve (Deb) Downing of Decorah, Jolene (Kevin) Cagney of Cornelius, NC and Amy Downing of Lansing; six grandchildren: Brendan, Kristin and Patrick Cagney, and Daniel, Brian and Kevin Downing; Sheryl’s children: Bret, Kurt and Nile (Kay) Smith, and her grandchildren: Sarah, Brent, Cameron, Beau and Orion; his siblings: Bill (Nancy) Downing of Wichita, KS, Dean (Hazel) Downing of Postville and Darlene (Gene) Kadera of Utah; a sister-in-law, Kay Downing of California; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Robert and Gary Downing.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon and Martin Funeral Home for their help and support. Online condolences may be left at www.martinfunerals.com.

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