Wayland Downen

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Wayland E. Downen, 86, of Belleville, IL, born October 5, 1936, in Steeleville, IL, died Thursday, February 2, 2023, at his residence.

Wayland knew no strangers. His warmth radiated as he rode motorcycles, flew small engine airplanes, and explored the outdoors. Active in Young Eagles program, Wayland flew over a hundred students, sharing new perspectives to all he encountered. At St. Henry’s parish, he was an active member of the Building and Grounds committee. Master sign painter, his creative output spans decades.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Irene, nee Wicklein, Downen; and three siblings, Lavonne Downen in infancy, Delmar Downen, and June (Arthur) Rasmussen; and two brothers-in-law, Richard Przychodzin and Carroll Joost.

He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Luan, nee Smith, Downen, whom he married on July 6, 1957;
five sons, Greg Downen, Jeff (Kathleen) Downen, Steve (MaryKay) Downen, Kevin (Melissa) Downen, and Phil (Cathy) Downen;
two daughters, Jill Downen (Char Schwall), and Janet (Jack) Gidding;
nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren;
two sisters, Valeria Przychodzin, and Charlene Joost;
a sister-in-law, Patricia Downen;
and many wonderful nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and friends.

Memorials may be made to Radio Station KDHX, St Louis 88.1 FM. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.

Visitation:  Friends may visit from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL, and from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2023, at St. Henry Catholic Church, Belleville, IL.

Funeral:  A memorial mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, February 9, 2023, at St. Henry Catholic Church, Belleville, IL, with Rev. Kenneth York officiating.

Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Chester, IL.


17 Comments on Wayland Downen

Norman Chip Krause said : Guest Report Feb 10, 2023 at 10:48 AM

Kevin, Mrs. Downen and Downen family, I am very sorry to just learn of Mr. Downen's passing. Prayers are with all of you . Take care.

  • IL
Wayne Korte said : Guest Report Feb 09, 2023 at 12:36 PM

To the Downen family. Wayland had a great impact on our young lives when we were teenagers. He showed us how to grow up and be adults, always with a good joke or story. He was always glad to see you. R.I.P. Wayland Wayne and Pam Korte

  • Kenosha
  • Wisconsin
Susan (Markus) Coulter said : Guest Report Feb 08, 2023 at 3:25 PM

To Luan and the entire extended Downen family, My heartfelt sympathies. Y'all were a big part of my life as a kid, and Wayland was a great friend to my dad - encouraging him to get his pilots license and then sharing ownership of a plane. They both have their own wings now. Warm thoughts and big hugs to all of you. Susan (Markus) Coulter

  • Santa Fe
  • NM
David Siebert said : Guest Report Feb 07, 2023 at 10:32 PM

Luan and your family I would like to express my sincere condolences. Wayland (Wheels) was a key part of our Anheuser-Busch paint shop and his sign work was incredible. I loved hearing his family’s stories like how the boys made a bike dirt track around and through the house. Wayland was a kind and thoughtful person. The best word that I believe identifies Wayland and your family is Awesomeness. David Siebert

  • Naples
  • Florida
Jeff and Eileen Wetzel said : Guest Report Feb 07, 2023 at 5:44 PM

Dear Luann and family, We're so very sorry for your loss. We've always admired and respected the family you and Wayland have created. And enjoyed your visits when on your way out on a road trip. With our deepest sympathy, Jeff and Eileen

  • IL
Brett Stuckel said : Guest Report Feb 07, 2023 at 1:41 PM

Dear Downen Family, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of a great man. The impact he left on your family will live on for generations to come. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers as you get through this trying time together. Love, Brett

  • Mildenhall
  • UK
Karen McCoy said : Guest Report Feb 06, 2023 at 3:51 PM

I didn't know Mr. Downen, but through his daughter Jill, I see that he and Luan created a fine and loving family. His warmth and joy in life are being carried forward,

  • Kansas City
  • MO
Valla Liefer Klettke said : Guest Report Feb 06, 2023 at 2:00 PM

Dear Luann and family, You have my sincere sympathy with the passing of your dear husband and father. I remember your wedding and what a handsome couple you were on that happy and hot July day! It was so good to see you and Wayland at the Downen reunion at Lisa’s. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Bridgeville
  • DE
Nancy Weiser said : Guest Report Feb 06, 2023 at 10:23 AM

My deep felt condolences to Luan and his loving family. Wayland was a unique man whose smile and kindness brought joy to all that knew him. I fondly remember him sharing his artistic talents with the making of a pretend jukebox for the Harmony Express Chorus production of "Put Another Nickle In". He lit up any room he entered. You will be sorely missed my friend. Love to Luan from your friend, Nancy Weiser

  • Belleville
  • IL
Cindy Lou McFadden said : Guest Report Feb 05, 2023 at 6:20 PM

Luan and family, I am not very good about expressing my feelings in times like these. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. May he rest in peace. Love, Cindy

  • O Fallon
  • IL
Shawn Tuck said : Guest Report Feb 05, 2023 at 3:35 PM

RIP Mr. Downen He made a big impression on my life back in the day, if only for a brief time. My sympathies to the family. I know he will truly missed.

  • Dallas
  • Georgia
Mary L. Racine said : Guest Report Feb 05, 2023 at 1:44 PM

I can’t begin to say all I feel for my dear classmate & his sweet wife, my dear cousin. Prayers & love!

  • ,Saint Peters
  • Mo.
Donnell Wisniewski said : Guest Report Feb 05, 2023 at 8:52 AM

I will always remember his wide smile and how he thought everything we sang was great! So much fun and laughter at life. We'll miss him.

  • Fairview Heig
  • Illinois
Margaret said : Guest Report Feb 04, 2023 at 6:09 PM

I will always remember his great laugh and knack for storytelling. Spent Many hours with him on buildings and grounds.Will miss the Friday kaffe klatch during lent,while they were cutting fish. Won't miss painting the handrails for the 8th time. Love them both. Great role models. Last conversation he called me at work to tell Mr George Portz passed. Conversation quickly turned to one liners.RIP good buddy

  • Belleville
  • Il
Tom Rasmussen said : Guest Report Feb 04, 2023 at 3:22 PM

I am very sorry to hear of Uncle Wayland's death. I have a lot of very fond memories of him like when he rode his motorcycle to visit here in Colorado Springs, his stories and laughter while enjoying a beer. I loved his love for his art. I know he's with Mom and uncle Delmar in Heaven. With love for you all, Tom Rasmussen

  • Loveland
  • Colorado
Julie Ong said : Guest Report Feb 04, 2023 at 1:16 PM

I will miss my uncle Wayland’s smile, his laugh, his kindness and his infectious humor. Being in conversation with Wayland was special as he always shared news of his family: my aunt Luan and my cousins. He was so proud of his grand and great-grand kids. I am deeply grateful for the richness his life, and his Downen family, has touched our Rasmussen family. With much love and deep peace… Julie Rasmussen Ong

  • Ft Collins
  • CO
Roger L. Windsor said : Guest Report Feb 04, 2023 at 12:35 PM

Thanks to Wayland " Ducks" Downen ! I was taught , many , many things through him and his sons ! Rest In Peace Mr. Downen !!! Rog !

  • Belleville
  • Illinois's

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