Betty Mae (Conard)Downing was born on December 16th, 1934 in Adair County, Iowa to Harvey and Wilda (Weaver)Conard. She passed away at the age of 88, peacefully surrounded by her family on January 23rd, 2023.
Betty grew up in Orient, Iowa. She graduated from Orient High School in 1953 where she enjoyed music and participating in school plays. She graduated from Capital City Commercial College in Des Moines, IA in 1955 and worked at The Valley Bank and Trust Company as Secretary to the bank president for several years.
On November 6th, 1955 she was united in marriage to the love of her life John Downing. They ran a farming operation and worked very hard. To this union they were blessed with two children: Steven John in 1958 and Brenda Sue in 1961. In 1977 they decided to branch out into innovative technology when they started their own business, Solar Systems of Iowa. They sold solar panel systems, fireplaces, and later added custom homes to the business. John and Betty exhibited their fireplaces and custom homes at several trade shows including the Home and Garden show at Veterans’ Auditorium and the Iowa State Fair for more than 20 years.
She was a lifelong member of the Orient United Methodist church where she was very active and served on several boards. She was an avid volunteer, who helped organize and serve multiple church functions, as well as hosting bible school volunteers for many years. She was a music lover and enjoyed playing in the church bell choir.
Betty was known to be a fabulous cook and would feed anyone who stopped by. Her greatest joy was spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. You could find her at every concert, sporting event, and cattle show. She never missed a birthday and always arrived with a freshly made double layer chocolate cake.
No matter the occasion, Betty was always there to lend a hand, offer advice, or provide a place where everyone felt included and important. She also spent several years acting as a grandmother to many other kids that her grandchildren brought home. They were brought into the family and she expected them to attend all the usual functions such as Sunday dinners, meals in the field during planting and harvest season, and expected them to stop in if they were in the area. During the summer it was ice tea and chocolate chip cookies, in the winter you could expect hot chocolate and a brownie. To her, love was shown with a warm meal or a sweet treat.
Another thing she loved dearly was spending time with her Gab & Stitch club to catch up on the community happenings, having fun, and sharing laughs. She truly loved life, being with family and friends, and will be dearly missed by those whose lives were touched by her.
Betty Mae is survived by her loving husband John of 67 wonderful years, son Steve (Karen) Downing and daughter Brenda (Gary) Thompson; grandchildren, Ashley (Derek) Hommer, Myles (Skylar) Thompson, Kysa (Josh) Woods, Chisum Downing (fiancé, Katelyn Clariday) and Heath Downing; great grandchildren Kynlee Hommer, Letti Mae Thompson and Maren Thompson. Betty Mae is also survived by her sister and brother-in-law Shirley and Max McDermott, sister-in-law Sharen Downing and several nieces, nephews, and other relatives that she loved dearly.
She was welcomed in heaven by her parents Wilda and Harvey Conard, brother Larry Conard, multiple brothers and sisters-in law along with many aunts, uncles, and other loved ones.