Vernon Downing Memorial

Vernon Downing Memorial - "The Pumpkin Man" and honey seller. May 9, 1940 - April 4, 2017. He lived to farm. Your gift helps others farm to live.
  • My Goal:
  • $1,958
  • Raised So Far:
  • $1,243
  • # of Donations:
  • 24
$1243 of $1958 goal
How will my donation help?

With Your Donation, We Can:

  • Improve

    nutrition and livelihoods worldwide through livestock and training

  • Increase

    income for farmers through enterprise development and access to resources

  • Allow

    families the opportunity to afford school fees and medicine for children

  • Empower

    women to take control of their circumstances and create better lives for their families

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In lieu of flowers, Vern requested donations for Heifer International. Heifer International is an organization that empowers families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity. What Vern loved about Heifer’s work is the sustainable way they are transforming the world, one family, one community, at a time. 

We believe in Heifer International and are requesting memorials to support their life-changing work around the world – keeping the legacy of our beloved "Pumpkin Man" alive. Please make a tax-deductible donation -the process is fast, easy, and secure. We truly appreciate any support you can provide. Your donations allow Vern's fellow farmers around the world to get the cattle, hogs... even bees! ... that along with their hard work, will allow them to support their families.

If you can't make a donation at this point, help us reach our fundraising goal of $1,958 (Vern was Braham High School Class of 1958 - middle guard/captain of the football team!) by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter. Or send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to our page.

Thanks so much for your generosity!

-- The Downing Family

Vernon William Downing, of Braham, passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at GracePointe Crossing Gables East in Cambridge. He was 76 years old.

Vernon was born on May 9, 1940 in Pine City, Minnesota to parents Russell and Edna (Lindstrom) Downing. He grew up on the family farm in rural Braham and attended school in Grasston and then Braham. After graduating Braham High School in 1958, Vernon began dairy farming with his parents. In 1956, Vernon had met Diane Wendt at the roller rink in Rush City. All the girls wanted rides on Vern’s Cushman scooter, but he only had eyes for Diane. They were married on December 31, 1960 at the Methodist church in Pine City. In 1965, Vernon left farming due to complications with his health; moving the family to Foley where he attended business school. Vernon worked a sales route, first for Ambassador Meats while living in Little Falls, and later for Frito Lay in Cambridge. He also worked at Onan Manufacturing for a short while. But Vernon was drawn back to the farm in 1970 and continued milking dairy cows until 1978. He continued to crop farm and raise pigs. In 1994, Vernon began his ten year “hobby” of raising pumpkins, which he sold on the roadside in Roseville. Pumpkins need pollinators, so he also kept bees and sold their honey. After Vernon was retired from farming, he still enjoyed checking in on his sons’ and neighbors’ farms.

Vernon enjoyed antique and John Deere tractors and was especially proud of his fully restored horse drawn wagon. Vernon was a faithful man who loved God and was a long time member of the St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Braham. He served as an elder and would occasionally preach if the need arose. Vernon was so proud to be a Gideon, and so thankful for all the area churches who welcomed the Gideon’s to make presentations for funds to send Bibles in this country and around the world. Most of all, Vernon loved his family. He was so proud of his grandchildren and all they had and would accomplish. He will be dearly missed by his numerous neighbors, friends, and family.

Vernon is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Clifford Wendt, and godson Matthew Thomas.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Diane; children, Robert (Lynette) of Pine City, David (Tammy) of St. Paul; Dan (Andrea) of Braham, and Michele (Bob) Berg of Coon Rapids; grandchildren, Colin, Katie, Anna, Bryan, Alec, Emma, Natalie, and Jenna; brother Harlan (Molly) of St. Anthony; sister Marianne (Mari Copeland) of Las Vegas; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Vernon’s family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the kind and caring people at GracePointe Crossing and St. Croix Hospice.

Want to Make a Donation Offline?

Download the Offline Donation Form

 

 

 

 

 

A note from Heifer: We are grateful that you have chosen to fundraise on Heifer’s behalf. Please note that all money raised through your efforts will go toward the entire mission of Heifer International and will be used where it is needed most. What you raise helps provide sustainable solutions to small-scale famers in the communities where we work. Thank you. 

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The Cause
David Downing is fundraising for Memorials benefiting Heifer International .

In lieu of flowers, Vern requested donations for Heifer International. Heifer International is an organization that empowers families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity. What Vern loved about Heifer’s work is the sustainable way they are transforming the world, one family, one community, at a time. 

We believe in Heifer International and are requesting memorials to support their life-changing work around the world – keeping the legacy of our beloved "Pumpkin Man" alive. Please make a tax-deductible donation -the process is fast, easy, and secure. We truly appreciate any support you can provide. Your donations allow Vern's fellow farmers around the world to get the cattle, hogs... even bees! ... that along with their hard work, will allow them to support their families.

If you can't make a donation at this point, help us reach our fundraising goal of $1,958 (Vern was Braham High School Class of 1958 - middle guard/captain of the football team!) by sharing this page on Facebook and Twitter. Or send an e-mail to friends you think might be interested in contributing and include a link to our page.

Thanks so much for your generosity!

-- The Downing Family

Vernon William Downing, of Braham, passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at GracePointe Crossing Gables East in Cambridge. He was 76 years old.

Vernon was born on May 9, 1940 in Pine City, Minnesota to parents Russell and Edna (Lindstrom) Downing. He grew up on the family farm in rural Braham and attended school in Grasston and then Braham. After graduating Braham High School in 1958, Vernon began dairy farming with his parents. In 1956, Vernon had met Diane Wendt at the roller rink in Rush City. All the girls wanted rides on Vern’s Cushman scooter, but he only had eyes for Diane. They were married on December 31, 1960 at the Methodist church in Pine City. In 1965, Vernon left farming due to complications with his health; moving the family to Foley where he attended business school. Vernon worked a sales route, first for Ambassador Meats while living in Little Falls, and later for Frito Lay in Cambridge. He also worked at Onan Manufacturing for a short while. But Vernon was drawn back to the farm in 1970 and continued milking dairy cows until 1978. He continued to crop farm and raise pigs. In 1994, Vernon began his ten year “hobby” of raising pumpkins, which he sold on the roadside in Roseville. Pumpkins need pollinators, so he also kept bees and sold their honey. After Vernon was retired from farming, he still enjoyed checking in on his sons’ and neighbors’ farms.

Vernon enjoyed antique and John Deere tractors and was especially proud of his fully restored horse drawn wagon. Vernon was a faithful man who loved God and was a long time member of the St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Braham. He served as an elder and would occasionally preach if the need arose. Vernon was so proud to be a Gideon, and so thankful for all the area churches who welcomed the Gideon’s to make presentations for funds to send Bibles in this country and around the world. Most of all, Vernon loved his family. He was so proud of his grandchildren and all they had and would accomplish. He will be dearly missed by his numerous neighbors, friends, and family.

Vernon is preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Clifford Wendt, and godson Matthew Thomas.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Diane; children, Robert (Lynette) of Pine City, David (Tammy) of St. Paul; Dan (Andrea) of Braham, and Michele (Bob) Berg of Coon Rapids; grandchildren, Colin, Katie, Anna, Bryan, Alec, Emma, Natalie, and Jenna; brother Harlan (Molly) of St. Anthony; sister Marianne (Mari Copeland) of Las Vegas; many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Vernon’s family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to the kind and caring people at GracePointe Crossing and St. Croix Hospice.

Want to Make a Donation Offline?

Download the Offline Donation Form

 

 

 

 

 

A note from Heifer: We are grateful that you have chosen to fundraise on Heifer’s behalf. Please note that all money raised through your efforts will go toward the entire mission of Heifer International and will be used where it is needed most. What you raise helps provide sustainable solutions to small-scale famers in the communities where we work. Thank you. 

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The Campaign:

Memorials

Welcome to my fundraising page for Heifer International! With your custom page, you can share mem

The Organization:

Heifer International

Heifer International's mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to ca...

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