Peru — William R. Downs Sr., 69, of the Cross Road, Peru, died Dec. 12, 2004, at the CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh, as a result of complications during a courageous battle with lung cancer.
He was born in Ticonderoga, Dec. 31, 1934, the son of Karl and Mildred (Proudy) Downs.
He was a 1952 graduate of Peru Central School.
He then served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1959 as a sharpshooter. He was then in the reserves until 1963. He retired from Plattsburgh Air Force Base following 31 years of service as a civil service employed electrician with CES. Bill was currently at the Lake Forest Community in Plattsburgh since it began.
He was a member of the Peru Volunteer Fire Department from 1963 to 1973 and former lieutenant, a commissioner for 20 years (1985 to present), chairman for 13 years (1992 to present). He was instrumental in establishing the firefighter benefit Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) in the Peru Fire District and the creation of the memorial monument dedicated 10/12/1997. He was involved in the specification and development of all current in service firefighting equipment. He was a charter member, past president of the Clinton-Essex Association of Fire Districts and a charter member and president of the NYS Fire Commissioners Association. He was instrumental in NYS legislative changes allowing for supplemental emergency medical services for rural fire districts. He provided fiscal and technical stewardship of the current station renovation and expansion project. He was the former vice president of the Board of Directors of Apple Valley Senior Housing in Peru and served on many committees for the Peru Community Church.
Survivors include the love of his life, Karla L. (Gorman) Downs, whom he married May 18, 1963, at St. Augustine's Church in Peru; one son, William R. Downs Jr., and Donna Thomas of Peru; a daughter and son-in-law, Michele and Donald Kelley of Manchester, N.H.; five grandchildren, Kayela and Taylor Downs and Daniel, Marisa and Meghan Kelley; one sister, Mary Jane King of Long Beach, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents; a grandson, Karl Thomas Downs; a sister, Isabelle; and a brother, Reggie.
Calling hours will be held Wednesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Hamilton Funeral Home in Peru. A funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Augustine's Church in Peru with Rev. Dr. Kenneth Parker, officiating.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Lung Cancer Research branch of the American Cancer Society or the Jimmy Fund Clinic - Histiocytosis Research.