Kenney Wess Downey was born on December 8, 1949 in Coleman, Texas. Kenney was born to Malcolm Wesley Downey and Zelma Ozelle Sikes Downey. Kenney always believed that he was so blessed to be born into this family. He had wonderful parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins with whom he shared his life.
Kenney went to school and graduated from Coleman High School in 1968. He was proud to be from Coleman. Kenney went to Tarleton College and later married Nancy Lois Henry in 1970. They had two beautiful children together, Kelly Marie Downey (Stewart) and Kerry Lynn Downey (Slayton). While the marriage between Nancy and Kenney did not stand the test of time, he maintained great respect for her as a person and especially as the mother of his two older girls. Nancy went onto marry Mike Berry from Coleman. Kenney had high regard for Mike and was very appreciative that Mike was what he considered the gold standard for a step father. He was actually a 2nd father to both Kerry and Kelly and later their families. Kenney was appreciative of their love for the girls.
Kenney met and married Pamelia (“Pam’) Lynn Young in 1984. Pam was proud to his wife and considered him a gift from God. She was blessed to be married to him for 34 years. The two of them were not only husband and wife but best friends throughout their marriage which lasted from Valentine’s Day 1984 until his last breath on 09/16/19. Kody Lee Downey was born to Kenney and Pam in January 1985. Kenney was thrilled to be a father again and greatly loved and cherished the new addition to his family. Kenney loved and was so proud of all three of his daughters and believed that each of them had special and unique qualities. He believed that the most important quality and attribute anyone could have was what was inside. Those qualities included character, integrity and compassion for others. He believed that all three of his daughters modeled that. He also believed that they were three intelligent, strong women and each accomplished in their own right. Kenney loved Kelly’s strength and yearning for education and knowledge, he loved Kerry’s openness and love that she shared with others (and was thrilled that she was such a great parent with Buddy to their boys) and he loved Kody’s creativity, passions (that included animals) and their bond that allowed them to just talk like friends instead of just father and daughter.
In the 1980’s, Ken worked in the pipe and supply business. The Texas oil boom came to an end and Kenney and Pam were forced to move from their Texas home to Los Angeles, California. While Ken was not fond of California, Ken always made the best of every situation and enjoyed the sunshine and new adventures that California offered to him, Pam and the three girls. He was later able to transfer with his company to Seattle, Washington. Ken, Pam, Kerry and Kody lived in Enumclaw, Washington for several years before Ken was offered another position in Missoula, MT. Ken jumped at the opportunity to move to Missoula as he believed that it truly was God’s country and would offer his family an even better life and culture closer to that in which he grew up. Kenney and Pam later moved back to the Seattle area where Pam had a career opportunity with Safeco Insurance Company. Typical for Kenney, he supported his best friend, Pam, with the location change. Kenney retired in 2012 and he and Pam moved back to Montana where Kody was already residing. Kody found her Daddy his dream property in Stevensville, MT. He and Pam had a home and acreage that backed up to forest service on the Sapphire side of the Bitterroot Valley. Kenney never tired of looking out his dining room window and having his coffee while overlooking the Bitterroot Valley and the Bitterroot Mountain range. He affectionately named it “Poverty with a Million Dollar View” and jokingly referred to himself as the CEO of Gotno Land and Cattle Company. He really loved overlooking the Hackett’s ranch and sharing and exchanging photos, jabs and political views with his friend Ed Hackett. Kenney loved and appreciated the neighbors that he had in Stevensville. He and Pam were so blessed to be part of the Stevensville Community. Kenney and Pam were planning on being able to split their time between both Montana and Texas beginning in October 2019. Kenney was in the process of finding a place for them to reside in Texas for six months of the year when he became ill. His dream of being in both Texas and Montana was not realized as God had a different plan and home for Kenney.
Kenney was a devout Christian, husband, father and cowboy throughout his life. He loved the Western values, culture and way of life. He was involved in FFA in school, went onto rodeo (bulls and bareback) and then went onto own and ride the horses that he loved so much. He knew every horses bloodline and had a huge appreciation for any good horse (he really didn’t believe in the idea of a bad horse but only a bad owner) but especially Hancock bred horses. Kenney loved Roan horses and had just purchased his last horse only a few months before his illness. “Elko” was a Black Roan and Kenney could not wait to ride him on the acreage that surrounded the house in Stevensville and use him for competitions in both Montana and Texas.
Kenney loved people and animals unconditionally. He believed that people should love and invest in other people and tried to do so when he had the opportunity. He was a mentor, friend and encourager to many and did so humbly as he believed God intended him to do. He would only want those that he befriended to pay the gift forward and help others. Kenney loved all animals and they loved him. He was always amazed that animals would just naturally “take” to him. He could calm an anxious horse and dogs and cats seem to just gravitate to him. He owned numerous animals over his lifetime with his last dog being “Beau”. Beau is a Black and White Border Collie with one eye. For whatever reason, Pam and Ken ended up with numerous special needs animals and they were loved greatly. Beau and Ken were inseparable and could always be seen working on the property or driving around in his Black one ton. Much to Pam’s dismay, Kenney and Beau both had a penchant for junk food. They loved to go to town and get corn dogs and donuts. Beau misses his owner greatly and like Pam and the rest of the family, is having to find ways to move on. He will see Ken again in Heaven.
Kenney was a Christian and loved and wanted to serve the Lord. Kenney was a humble man and believed that the best testimony was the one that you lived. Kenney tried to live and demonstrate what he believed Jesus modeled and commanded in the bible. He and Pam were members of Galilee Baptist Church in Stevensville, Montana. He and Pam loved and were loved by their church family. Kenney felt privileged to be sitting under Pastor Phil Walker and loved serving and attending the Men’s Prayer Breakfasts at Galilee. Pastor Walker and his daughter were at his bedside when he left this world to be in the arms of Jesus.
Kenney and Pam lived far from their Texas home. He could not wait to get back to Texas to spend time with Zelma (Grandmommie) Downey, Kelly/Trey, Kerry/Buddy and his precious grandsons (Bode and Nate Slayton) that he wanted to get to know better. He always planned on having more time and getting to know the “boys” and teaching them the cowboy ways including riding and roping (which he was a master at). He was also looking forward to seeing his numerous old friends including Tooter and Boyd as well as friends such as Danny Pollard and Kenny Pancake.
Both he and Pam realized that “family” is not just about blood. They had life friends that supported he and Pam and that loved him until the end. Those friends included Jim Stralser and Mark and Kathy Buck as well as being loved and adopted by the Olivier and Sharick families with whom he and Pam shared many special memories. These friends were precious to Kenney and he felt so privileged to have them and their families in his life.
Ken’s friends also included many that I am unable to name but includes J.W. and Edye Wright of Kansas, Mike Perdue, Mike Schober and Jim Meadows.
Kenney’s twinkling blue eyes, great smile, sharp and wonderful sense of humor, common sense approach to life and his humble cowboy ways will be greatly missed by all including his best friends, Pam and Beau who are having to find their way without him. He would want us to focus on living a life that honored and glorified Christ and to love and take care of each other. It is with great sadness that this obituary is written but not for Ken as he knew where he was going and was not afraid of death. He could not wait to see Jesus. The sadness is for the loss of such a great man and the people that he will no longer be able to love. He would want each of you to know Jesus so that he could meet you again in Heaven.
Kenney leaves behind his wife Pam, daughters Kelly (Trey) Downey Stewart, Kerry (Buddy) Downey Slayton and Kody Downey as well as his mother, Zelma Downey, and mother in law, Pinkie Theresa Edwards as well as his two grandsons, cousins and friends, Preceding him in death were his father, Malcolm Wesley Downey, cousins Lee Downey and Charlotte Dehnel as well as his numerous aunts and uncles that went before him in addition to his close friend, Bruce Terrell.
Special thanks and appreciation to the nurses at St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula as well as Partners Hospice staff and Ken’s neurologist, Dr. Kyle Smith of Providence. Dr. Smith had a desire to provide treatment to Kenney when others had given up. He went above and beyond what he had to and showed empathy and compassion to Kenney in the face of what turned out to be a horrible disease without treatment or cure.
Arrangements are being handled by Stevens Funeral Home in Coleman. Visitation will be Friday night, October 4, 2019 from 6:00 until 7:00 p. m. at Stevens Funeral Home, 400 W. Pecan Street, Coleman. Services are to be held at the Harmony Baptist Church, 608 CR 354, Fisk, Coleman County, on Saturday, October 5 at 11:00 a.m. Eulogy will be given by Mike Downey. Interment will be at Brown Ranch Cemetery across the road from Harmony Baptist Church. All are invited to the reception at Harmony Baptist immediately after the service and interment for both food and fellowship.
A second memorial service is to be held on 10/12/19 at Galilee Baptist Church located at 208 Higgins Lane in Stevensville, Montana. Service at 11:00 am with reception for all at Pastor and Taunnie Walker’s home located at 162 Middle Burnt Fork Road in Stevensville, Montana 59870.