The Chariton Herald-Patriot
Thursday, January 2, 1997
Clell Downard, son of Benjamin Franklin and Cora (Smith) Downard, was born May 27, 1900, in Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa. He passed away on Dec. 21, 1996 at the Chariton Nursing and Rehab Center at the age of 96.
Clell moved to Russell when he was two years old. His father was one of the first rural mail carriers out of Russell, while his grandfather was a carrier out of Chariton. Clell substituted on both routes, riding on horseback or using a team of horses with a buggy or bobsled to deliver the mail.
Clell lived most of his life in Russell and Lucas County. He attended Russell schools until his junior year when he broke his leg playing football. He left school at that time but later shared that it was a mistake to have left.When Clell was about 17, he left Russell to work on a dairy farm in New York state, for a former Russell mail carrier. He traveled by train to New York by way of Chicago to his destination near Syracuse. Clell shared the memories of his train trip with his family. He remembered the box lunch his mother had packed for him, only to have it picked up by a stanger at one of the stations. Clell had left it on the bench while he went to inquire about the train schedule.When Clell finally arrived at the dairy farm, which was owned by former Russell resident, Roy Wilsie, he found plenty of work to be done. Mr. Wilsie, his wife, and Clell milked 43 head of dairy cows twice a day, by hand, until Mr. Wilsie finally bought a gasoline powered milker. Clell also hauled the milk in ten gallon milk cans to the creamery each day. He was able to use the brand new Ford the Wilsie's had bought to make the trips. He was also allowed to use the truck for other purposes, such as dating and eating out, which was quite a thrill for a young man in those days.
Clell returned to Russell after a couple of years to help his Dad and others deliver mail.Clell assisted his Dad in buying wool and furs and chauffeured doctors and salesmen around the community with horses from the Russell Livery Stable. Clell went to work as a custodian for the Russell School in the early 40's and worked there until about 1970. In the early days, they unloaded coal from railroad cars and hauled it to the school to fire the furnace. They did all this work by hand.Clell did a lot of umpiring at ball games and had to be at all games to take care of things.
His hobbies included fishing, hunting, gardening and visiting family members. He also liked to play croquet, pitch horseshoes, cribbage, other card games and pool, especially snooker. He had been known to give some others an education in some of these activities.
On March 20, 1927, Clell was united in marriage to Nellie B. Reeves, the daughter of Theodore F. and Iva Josephine (Dovenspike) Reeves. They were married in Russell by Rev. Archie Beals.
To this union seven children were born, five sons and two daughters. The family made their home in Russell.Clell and Nellie moved to the Northridge Living Center in Chariton in April 1988. Clell had been a resident of the Chariton Manor since 1996.
He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter Dorothy Lutteneger in August 1976; his wife Nellie on May 31, 1995; brothers Lester and Herbert; and sisters Icyle Jane and Eva Hubbell.
Clell is survived by five sons, Max Downard of Corning; Donald Downard of Montgomery, Ill.; Theodore (Ted) Downard of Des Moines; Verle (Dean) Downard of Tucson, Ariz.; and Dale Downard of Silver Lake, Wash.; one daughter, Barbara Hansen of Burlington; 15 grandsons, five granddaughters; 26 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Clell shared his birthday with great-grandson Andrew Downard. He is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Hazel Davidson of Boise, Idaho, and Dorothy Perkins of Chariton.
Funeral services were held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28, 1996, at the Fielding Funeral Home in Chariton. Pastor Larry Prosser officiated. Burial was in the Russell Cemetery. Serving as bearers were his grandsons, Dennis Downard, Ronald Downard, Craig Downard, Michael Lutteneger, Daniel Lutteneger, Timothy Lutteneger, Douglas Hansen and Richard Downard.
Obituary courtesy of Charles M. Wright