Vera Mae Yates Downs, 81, of Benton, went to her heavenly home on Saturday August 1, 2020. She was born in Bismarck in 1939, graduated from Bismarck High School in 1957 and lived in Arkadelphia for many years before moving to Benton.
She is survived by one sister, Bess Jackson of Bismarck; one daughter and son-in-law Tammy Prince Lambert and Steve Lambert of Benton; her husband Bill's sons and their wives Bill III and Cindy of Bryant, Bob and Kathy of Stafford, VA, and Ben and Sharon of Bryant; two grandsons, Chase Lambert and wife Randi of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Cash Lambert of Haleiwa, Hawaii; and two great-granddaughters, Izzi and Lily.
She is preceded in death by her former spouse Bernard Prince, her husband Dr. William D. (Bill) Downs, Jr., her parents E.D. and Grace Yates, five brothers Bruce, Warren, Roy, Sherman, Milton and one sister Juanita Thomasson.
Vera, known as VeeVee, was a lady of many talents and shared those with family and friends equally. She worked as a secretary for Ouachita Baptist University in the Development and President’s offices. She owned and operated Shaw’s Garden Florist of Arkadelphia for many years. She worked for Tom Chandler Designs in Little Rock, had her own cake decorating and catering services, and directed and planned weddings. She and her sister Juanita renovated and managed the McNutt House B&B in Arkadelphia.
While in Bismarck, she was a charter member of the Unity Missionary Baptist Church. While living in Arkadelphia, she was a member of First Baptist Church of Arkadelphia where she helped organize Wednesday night meals and helped the Plaza Nursing Home ministry. After she moved to Benton, she became an active member of Immanuel Baptist Church of Little Rock and a Senior Adult Sunday School Class.
She and husband Bill established and funded the Down’s Endowed Scholarship for an outstanding OBU student. Memorial donations can be made to the scholarship via the OBU Development Office, OBU Box 3754, Arkadelphia, AR 71998. They were fortunate to travel twice around the world as chaperones with students from OBU.
We will all miss her smile and laughter, her cooking, her sharing of God’s word and her wonderful spirit. We can truly say hers was a life well lived. We know she is rejoicing with her family in Heaven and look forward to the time we see her again.
Services will be held at 2:00 Thursday, August 13 at Ruggles-Wilcox Funeral Home in Arkadelphia. Burial will be at De Roche Cemetery in Bismarck. Rev. Rick Smith will conduct the service.
Due to Covid-19, friends and family are required to wear masks and honor social distancing guidelines.