Frances Downes

Frances Downes, 86, passed away Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at her son’s home in Copper Center, Alaska.

Memorial services were held April 7, 2013, at Mount Drum Lutheran Church in Copper Center. Pastor Todd Roeske officiated. Additional services will be held in New Mexico at a later date. Her ashes will be scattered with her husband’s ashes in Willard, N.M., where they had met.

Frances was born April 16, 1926, to George Washington and Mammi Lucille (Harris) Fowler in New Mexico where she graduated from high school. She was a member of the Mount Drum Lutheran Church and was very religious. She also enjoyed crafting. Frances had friends all over the country. Everywhere she went she left a trail of friends. She was like Will Rogers, who was quoted as saying “I never met a man I didn’t like.” 

“That was Frances,” her family said. “She loved everyone she met. Frances will be missed.” 

After her husband, J.D. Downes, passed away on Jan. 16, 2006, she stayed in Aztec, N.M., for another year because she was having trouble getting around. Her family in Alaska asked her to move up with them. Once she was all packed up, Frances moved to Homer with her granddaughter, Shawn Michelle Klingbeil. Shawn had a mother-in-law house where Frances resided for about five years. Her health declined when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and was no longer able to take care of herself. Her son, John and his wife, Lisa, brought her to their home in Copper Center where they tried to make her comfortable with them. Her sister passed away several years ago from Alzheimer’s as well.

Frances was preceded in death by her husband, J.D. Downes, and sister, Jeannie Grassham. 

She is survived by her brother and sister in-law, Bill and Norma Fowler and family of Albuquerque, N.M.; brother in-law, Charles Grassham of Albuquerque, N.M.; son and daughter in-law, John and Lisa Downes of Copper Center; granddaughters, Deanne Neal of Juneau and Shawn Klingbeil of Homer; grandson, Dwayne Downes of Homer; 10 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.

Arrangements were by the Anchorage Funeral Home and Crematory. Please visit Frances’ obituary and online guestbook at