Helen Ruth Downing, 92, of Greeley, died Thursday, November 8, 2012 at Garden Square of Greeley. Helen was born on the cold winter day of March 25, 1920 along with her twin brother, at their home on the Niobrara River south of Merriman, Nebraska to Howard Oakley Glen Coder and Bessie Leora (Sawtell) Coder. Together the twins weighed 5 lbs. and neighbors did not expect them to live 3 months. They both ended up living long, long lives. They along with their older sister rode a horse or walked to the one-room school house known as "Center" located on the prairie, south of Merriman. Helen liked sharing her memories and many stories of "living on the river."
She moved to Gordon, Nebraska to attend high school and graduated in 1938. After graduating, she worked as a cook and nanny at several ranches in the Sandhills, where she met Floyd Downing. They were married in Alliance, Nebraska on May 17, 1941 and settled on the Downing ranch north of Ashby, Nebraska. They both loved the ranch life. For a wedding gift, Floyd gave Helen a team of 4 horses. She enjoyed working in the fields as much as homemaking. They later moved to operate a ranch east of Gordon, Nebraska, then eventually moved to Alliance where Floyd built them a home when he got into the construction trades.
In 1955, they moved to Greeley. Helen was a homemaker and worked part-time jobs, including being a baker at the high schools. The students loved those cinnamon rolls and krautburgers. She took over a paper route from her grandson, and delivered papers for the Greeley Tribune for 12 years, enjoying the camaraderie of the seniors she served. Helen enjoyed gardening, canning those harvests, and cooking. Very seldom "ate out." She was known for her bread making, special jams and jellies and homemade pickles. She enjoyed having friends and family for dinner, playing cards and games. She was a skilled seamstress, and did many other crafts like crocheting, knitting, embroidery. She was a proud mother and grandmother. She took great pride in her grandchildren and always attended their many events.
In the fall of 2008, Helen and Floyd moved into Garden Square of Greeley Assisted Living where she became active in many of the activities offered there. While there, they renewed their vows on May 17, 2011 celebrating 70 years of marriage, with Helen wearing her original wedding dress.
She is survived by her husband Floyd, an older sister Alice Myers of Gainesville, Georgia; a younger brother Clarence (Doris) Coder of Pierre, South Dakota; a daughter Sharon of Greeley; a grandson Ron Mayer of Kansas City, Kansas; and a granddaughter Christy (David) Moran and great-granddaughter Stella, all of Arlington, Virginia. She was preceded in death by her twin brother Jack Coder, at age 80, and of course, her parents.
A graveside service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 13, at Sunset Memorial Gardens. (side note: they lived on "Sunset" Lane for 51 years) In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Garden Square of Greeley, OR Accent Hospice – both in care of Stoddard Funeral Home, 3205 West 28th Street, Greeley, Colorado 80634.