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GRAYDON "GRAY" MERLE DOWNING
October 8, 1921 ~ November 1, 2013
Gray passed away gently at home the morning of November 1st after 92 years of life in Vancouver, WA. He was born on the property where Eisenhower School now stands and attended Arnada Grade School, Shumway Junior High, and Vancouver High School.
After graduating, he became a sheet metal journeyman before serving in the Army Air Force during WW2.
Upon his return home, Gray was married for 10 wonderful years to Roberta Vernon, with whom he had two children.
He began working at Vancouver Sheet Metal Works and became co-owner of the business that in 1953 became Vancouver Roofing and Sheet Metal Co.
In 1955, Gray met his daughter's first grade teacher, Jeanne Frieske. They were married in 1957 and four more children became part of the Downing family. Gray cherished his marriage of 56 years with Jeanne.
Gray was active in Rotary, Toastmasters, Vancouver Executives, and was a charter member of Family of Christ Lutheran Church.
Most of all Gray loved being outdoors and with his family. He enjoyed spending time in the mountains, hiking, camping, and fishing, and gardening at home. He could always be found at his family's sporting, school, and church events.
Gray was preceded in death by his father, Merl; mother, Hattie; brother, Roger; and first wife, Roberta.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanne; and beloved children, Gary (Patricia), Susan Williamson (Dale), Karen (Scott Disher), Janet, Tim (Sandy), and Beth Stark (Les). Gray found great joy in his grandchildren, Katie Wire (Ben), Anna (Andrew Callahan), Brandon, Brittney Lopez (Carlos), Jessica, Hayley, Tim, Colton, Natalie; and great-grandson, Angel.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 16, at Family of Christ Lutheran Church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting Hospice Southwest or Family of Christ building fund, both of which were important to Gray.
Please sign his Guest Book at
Published in The Columbian on Nov. 10, 2013