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Des Moines

Joyce Downing, 84, died after a four-month journey with lung cancer. Born in Winnipeg, Ontario, Joyce finished nursing school at Harper Hospital in 1956. She earned a degree and found a husband and life partner in Wendell Downing, a colo-rectal surgeon. They spent two years in England while Wendell practiced at an Air Force base hospital. After returning to the US, they lived in Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, MI while Wendell finished his residency and specialty training. They moved to Des Moines in 1965 and created a home here.

As a thrifty Scot, Joyce would not want to waste money on an obituary. In brief, she offered these values to the family she so loved--curiosity for others and the world, a strong sense of beauty, and a willingness to be present in the lives of those she cared about. The details that illuminate her impact are too numerous to share.

Joyce is survived by her husband of 64 years, Wendell Downing; and her two daughters, Jill and Karen (Jeff Marks). She had one beloved grandchild, Hannah, who will continue to wear her nanny’s vintage clothes in years to come.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Planned Parenthood and Plymouth Church, two places that brought her such joy as a volunteer.

The family extends immense gratitude to Dr. Tom Buroker and the nursing staff on Powell Three.

A celebration of Joyce’s life will be held at Hamilton’s on Westown Parkway, 3601 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at 10:30 a.m.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com.


Service Details

Visitation:
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Family will greet friends following the service.
Service:
Saturday, September 28, 2019
10:30 am
Celebration of Life
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Disposition:
Cremation
Hamilton's Crematory
Des Moines, Iowa
Arrangements:
Hamilton's on Westown Parkway
3601 Westown Parkway
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
(515) 224-0078

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