Ernest Ernie J. Downing 74, a longtime resident of Keene and formerly of Lebanon died on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in White River Junction. He passed peacefully with his family near after a brief period of failing health.
Ernie was born the son of the late Beatrice (Ruel) Kimball and Willis Downing Jr. on December 30, 1939 in Lebanon.
Ernie enlisted in the U.S. Army on 18 February 1958. He was assigned to an artillery unit that was activated for the Cuban Crisis serving at Fort Bragg, NC 1961 – 1962. Ernie finished his enlistment on August 9, 1964 with an honorable discharge at the rank of Sp4 Specialist.
Ernie was a machinist by trade. He was employed by MPB for over thirty four years retiring in 2002.
He was a player, coach and sponsor of the Greater Keene Softball Association for over 30 years recognized in 2003 for his contributions to Greater Keene Womens softball. Ernie was also an avid NY Yankees fan and baseball card collector. He liked to watch NASCAR on TV following Tony Stewart. Family and friends from days gone by was also important to Ernie. He thoroughly enjoyed taking part and co-coordinating the Willis Downing family and Lebanon Middle School re-unions. Ernie was a member of the Keene Elks Club #927, American Legion Post #4 of Keene, the Eagles #1413 and the Italian Club and could often be seen dancing the night away.
Mr. Downing in survived by his partner and dear friend of 13 years, Anna May Hutchins of Keene; his daughter, Teresa D. McLellan and her husband Donald Chip McLellan, Jr. of Glastonbury, CT and daughter, Christina M. McGee of Marlborough. Also, four grandchildren; Chris McLellan, Lauren McLellan, Curt McLellan and Allison McLellan in addition to cousins, nieces, nephews, extended Downing and Kimball families and numerous friends.
Calling Hours will be held on Sunday, September 7, 2014 from 5 to 7pm. A celebration of life service will be held on Monday, September 8, at 10am all in the Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel. Burial will be private in the family lot with military honors. Flowers will gladly be accepted. However, the family would prefer donations be made in memory of Ernie Downing to: Veterans Victory Farm, 85 Pierce Rd. Fitzwilliam, NH 03447 or to Monadnock Humane Society, 101 West Swanzey Rd., Swanzey, NH 03446. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH 03431. www.cheshirefamilyfh.com.