Helen F. Downing

Helen F. Downing, 92, of Sheridan, WY, died Saturday, February 20, 2010 in Westview Health Care Center.

Mrs. Downing was born March 31, 1917 in Montgomery, Alabama to Clarence F. and MacDena A. (Smith) Davidson. She grew up and attended schools in Monett, Missouri and graduated from Monett High School in 1936. She then attended college at Southwest Missouri State Teacher’s College in Springfield, Missouri.

Helen married Darrel E. Downing November 16, 1947 in Springfield, Missouri. She had worked as an air traffic controller for the Civil Aeronautics Administration, (later the F. A. A), until the birth of her daughter.

Upon the couple’s move to Sheridan, Mrs. Downing worked as a secretary, bookkeeper, and as Registrar at Sheridan College. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Sheridan, a member of the Bighorn Audubon Society, and the Nature Conservancy.

Helen was an avid bird-watcher. Her book titled “Birds of North-Central Wyoming”, published in 1990 is still in widespread use by birders across the country.

Mrs. Downing was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; two sisters; and one brother.

She is survived by one daughter, Ariel A. Downing, of Sheridan, WY; two nieces; and three nephews.

A committal service for Mrs. Downing will be 2:00 P. M. Friday, March 12, 2010 in the Sheridan Municipal Cemetery with Father Rob Spaulding officiating. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A. M. Saturday, May 29, 2010 at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church, Story, WY, with Father Rob Spaulding and the Rev. Don Derryberry officiating. Arrangements are with Champion Ferries Funeral Home.

Memorials in memory of Mrs. Downing may be made to the Nature Conservancy, the Big Horn Audubon Society, or the charity of the donor’s choice.