Akkerman-Ingebrand • Mora, MN

Rock-Ingebrand • Braham, MN

Mora, MN • 320-679-1933

Braham, MN • 320-396-2121



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.

12 thoughts on “VERNON DOWNING”

  1. To the Downing Family,

    I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Vern. My thoughts, prayers and lots of hugs are being sent to you.
    I will always remember his kind ways and hugs when I would see him at the store.
    May Jesus’ arms comfort and hold you in this difficult time.
    God Bless and keep you.

  2. Whenever you think of what a farmer is Vern always comes up first. He was a lover of the land and a wealth of knowledge about farming. I never saw him without a BIG smile on his face when you saw him on the road or in the field cutting weeds,selling honey or pumpkins, or telling you updates on his family. The land has lost a quality caregiver, and all of us a ray of farmer happiness. Much love from the Neville family

  3. God Bless and keep you safe in his loving arms. The “Hawke Family” has lost a treasured member. Cornish Cuzin Catie (aka Catherine Hawke Whitford).
    Catherine Hawke Whitford
    150 Jail Alley
    Mineral Point, Wi 53565

    -Rest in Peace

  4. Condolences to Michele and family! Hoping all your treasured memories comfort you in these difficult days. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. The Jensons, Anoka. MN

  5. From a former classmate at Braham High School, I extend my sincerest condolences to Michele and family. Vernon was a fine classmate and gentleman. I’m sorry I will not be available at his funeral services. But let me extend our prayers and hopes for this wonderful human being. May you rest in peace, dear friend.

    From the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico) Edward Borchardt, Class of 1958, BHS.

  6. It was an absolute pleasure to take care of Vern for the last couple years. I always enjoyed squeaking the toy pig in his room, which we named Clarence. He was an amazing man and always made us all smile. He will be greatly missed!

  7. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Downing family. I was deeply saddened to hear about Vernon’s passing. Words can not describe what a wonderful person he was and he will be greatly missed.

  8. Vern loved the land almost as much as he loved his family and friends. All with a huge welcoming smile. Good job well done, Vern. We miss you …

  9. Michele and Bob: My condolences to you and your families. You and your families will be in my thought and prayers and that God grants you the strength to get through this sorrowful time.

  10. David, Michele, and Family, I am so very sorry to learn of the passing of your dad. You are in my thoughts and prayers! Faye Rooney Lilyerd

  11. Dear Dan, I was so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. He was obviously a wonderful and caring man, as this page beautifully shows. Sending my sympathy and empathy for your loss, and praying for the great comfort and confidence of knowing that your dad was saved and is alive with our risen Lord.

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