CANTON - Paul "Gus" Downard, 91, of Converse, Texas, formerly of Canton, died at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at his residence.
He was born Aug. 11, 1921, in Canton to William and Edith Sprinkle Downard. He married Ruth Sexton on March 25, 1945, in Kansas. She died March 31, 1988, in Pineville, S.C.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Clarence, Dale, Dean, Eugene, Warren and Lloyd Sr.; and one sister, Charlotte Flicthbeil.
Paul is survived by his daughter, Donna Berwald of San Antonio, Texas; son, Michael (Rosie) Downard of Dardanelle, Ark.; three grandchildren, Lesley (James) Sereno, Adele (Jimmy) Liles and Brandon (Tawnya) Downard; eight great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; two brothers, Milford Downard of Dewitt, Ark., and Dick Downard of Peoria; and many nieces and nephews.
Paul quit high school to go to work for the CCC to help support his mother and siblings after his father passed away. He also worked for Caterpillar, the First National Bank of Canton, Tempo and Canton Graham Hospital.
He retired in 1986 and moved to South Carolina with his wife. After her death in 1988, he moved back to Illinois and traveled back and forth to his son's home and his daughter's home in Texas. For the last 10 years, his main residence was in San Antonio with his daughter.
He was a United States Marine Corps veteran, serving his nation in World War II, where he was awarded the Purple Heart.
He loved to fish, play golf, tend to his flower gardens and play "monster" with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, at The Wilton Mortuary in Peoria, with visitation one hour prior. Pastor Howard Love will officiate. Interment will be in Swan Lake Memory Gardens in Peoria, where red, white and blue balloons will be released by his family.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.thewiltonmortuary.com.