Smithfield – Rev. William Louis Downs, age 83, passed away on Sunday, May 10, 2015 following a period of declining health. Born in Pinetops, NC on September 14, 1931, he was the son of the late Posey Edgar Downs, Sr. and Annie Wells Downs. He was also preceded in death by his wife of 40 years Patsy Downs and siblings Sarah Catherine Bass Cole, Posey E. Downs, Jr., and Eloise Downs Dunkle.
Rev. Downs attended Pineland Junior College at Edward’s Military Institute before joining the US Navy and serving 4 years during the Korean War. He graduated from Wake Forest University and attended Bowman-Grey School Of Medicine and later worked at Roche Laboratories. He was later called to the ministry and received a Masters of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Seminary. He pastored a two church field at Christian Harbor and Harrellsville Baptist Churches and later spent seven years at Edgemont Baptist Church in Rocky Mount and Royal Oaks Baptist Church in Kannapolis. He was currently a member of First Baptist Church in Smithfield where he assisted with teaching, the migrant ministry and the soup kitchen as he truly heeded the call to serve “the least of these”. He was also known for the numerous gallons of blood he has donated to the Blood Bank.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, May 14, at 2:00 PM in the First Baptist Church, 202 S. 4th St., Smithfield, NC with burial following in Sunset Memorial Park. The family will receive friends at the church Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 PM.
Surviving are his wife of 17 years Faye Downs; children, David Downs, wife Jenny and their children Will and Anna Grace of Lexington, KY, Ann Downs Crisp, husband Bill and their daughter Rachel of Hendersonville, Debby Downs Ellis and her husband R.J. of Chapel Hill; step-children Sherry Jackson of Durham, Stanley J. Jackson and his wife Shannon and son Brandon of Fuquay-Varina; god-children Todd and Chris Michaloski, Jennifer Bertan Belcher, Sena Parrish and Samantha, Carmen Cole and Angela Cole; and his sister Miriam Downs Woodruff of Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bill’s memory may be made to the Children’s Mission and Education Fund at Smithfield First Baptist Church.
Condolences may be sent to the family at parrishfh.com