Roger Lee Downs, age 74 of Inver Grove Heights, formerly of Duluth
Died Sunday, January 31, 2021 at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.
Roger was born September 10, 1946 in Freeport, Illinois to Allen L. Downs and Lois M. (Coomber) Downs. The family later moved to Duluth where his father had accepted a position at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Roger graduated from Duluth East High School in 1965 where he was active in music and the rock bands of that era. In 1966, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and subsequently served in the Viet Nam conflict, being exposed to Agent Orange. Upon discharge in 1969, Roger returned to Duluth and met his future wife, Susan, whom he married in June 1972. They were later blessed with two children, Matthew and Elissa.
He graduated in 1973 from the then-Duluth Area Vo-technical Institute, now Lake Superior College, with an Associate degree and went on to work in Collections at many local institutions, retiring early to manage the home and family.
Roger was a life-long member of First United Methodist Church in Duluth and sang in the choir and helped with the sound system. His first joy was his family, never missing a choir or band concert, play or dance performance. Roger had other great joys in life. He continued his love of singing by establishing, along with his brother, the vocal group “The Downbeats” in which he performed for over 40 years. The group was responsible for bringing joy to untold numbers of long-term care residents, various club meetings and anywhere anyone wanted them to sing. He also was a long-time UMD Bulldogs hockey fan, holding season tickets for many years. His last great joy was being camp cook for his best buddies on fishing and hunting expeditions.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Allen and Lois Downs.
He is survived by his wife, Susan; son, Matthew (Jeni Long); daughter, Elissa (Dustin Oehler); new granddaughter, Fleur Leigh Oehler; brother, Gregg (Susan); and many nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.
A private family graveside service will be held later with burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to First United Methodist Church, 230 E. Skyline Parkway, Duluth, MN 55811 or to the family to establish a college savings plan for Fleur Oehler C/O Elissa Downs, 6835 Athena Way, Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077.
Arrangements entrusted to Summit Funeral & Cremation.
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