ROCK INGEBRAND FUNERAL HOME- BRAHAM
Vernon Downing, of Braham, passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at the GracePointe Crossing East Gables in Cambridge. He was 76 years old.
FUNERAL SERVICE will be held at 3:00 pm on Monday, April 10, 2017 at the St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Braham.
VISITATION will be held from 3:00-7:00 pm on Sunday, April 9th, 2017 and one hour prior to the service on Monday; All at the church.
INTERMENT will be in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Rush City.
Memorials are preferred to Heifer International at https://fundraise.heifer.org/PumpkinMan.
Vernon William Downing, of Braham, passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at GracePointe Crossing Gables East in Cambridge. He was 76 years old.
Vernon was born on May 9, 1940 in Pine City, Minnesota to parents Russell and Edna (Lindstrom) Downing. He grew up on the family farm in rural Braham and attended school in Grasston and then Braham. After graduating Braham High School in 1958, Vernon began dairy farming with his parents. In 1956, Vernon had met Diane Wendt at the roller rink in Rush City. All the girls wanted rides on Vern’s Cushman scooter, but he only had eyes for Diane. They were married on December 31, 1960 at the Methodist church in Pine City. In 1965, Vernon left farming due to complications with his health; moving the family to Foley where he attended business school. Vernon worked a sales route, first for Ambassador Meats while living in Little Falls, and later for Frito Lay in Cambridge. He also worked at Onan Manufacturing for a short while. But Vernon was drawn back to the farm in 1970 and continued milking dairy cows until 1978. He continued to crop farm and raise pigs. In 1994, Vernon began his ten year “hobby” of raising pumpkins, which he sold on the roadside in Roseville. Pumpkins need pollinators, so he also kept bees and sold their honey. After Vernon was retired from farming, he still enjoyed checking in on his sons’ and neighbors’ farms.
Vernon enjoyed antique and John Deere tractors and was especially proud of his fully restored horse drawn wagon. Vernon was a faithful man who loved God and was a long time member of the St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Braham. He served as an elder and would occasionally preach if the need arose. Vernon was so proud to be a Gideon, and so thankful for all the area churches who welcomed the Gideon’s to make presentations for funds to send Bibles in this country and around the world. Most of all, Vernon loved his family. He was so proud of his grandchildren and all they had and would accomplish. He will be dearly missed by his numerous neighbors, friends, and family.
Vernon is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Clifford Wendt, and godson Matthew Thomas.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Diane; children, Robert (Lynette) of Pine City, David (Tammy) of St. Paul; Dan (Andrea) of Braham, and Michele (Bob) Berg of Coon Rapids; grandchildren, Colin, Katie, Anna, Bryan, Alec, Emma, Natalie, and Jenna; brother Harlan (Molly) of St. Anthony; sister Marianne (Mari Copeland) of Las Vegas; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Vernon’s family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the kind and caring people at GracePointe Crossing and St. Croix Hospice.