Remembering Ron Downing

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:10 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Twin Cities are remembering a giant. Businessman and historian Ron Downing died yesterday at the age of 74. He spent his life studying the history of Monroe and West Monroe and restoring old buildings.

“On behalf of the City of West Monroe, we would just like to express our condolences as well as our appreciation for your years of service,” said Adrienne LaFrance-Wells, West Monroe’s Main Street Director.

Clinton Whitney Downing, who owns Revival Design and Consign in Monroe, says his dad was like an encyclopedia. He wants his legacy to be one of giving.

“He was responsible for getting the Bell Tower restored from the original courthouse in West Monroe,” explained Clinton. “As well as the street lights through private funds and then at Hasley Cemetery. He was able to create a pavilion for loved ones in case it rained in different temperatures so that they could actually still have a graveside service.”

Clinton told KNOE his father was born and raised in Northeast Lousiana and knew things about both cities even before they were incorporated.

“If you told him about somebody’s name, he could take you about five generations back on that family when you just asked if he knew them,” explained Clinton.

It was Downing’s deep roots that motivated him to help return the Twin Cities to their glory days.

“His great-great-grandfather was the first judge of Monroe, and that brother was the first mayor of Monroe,” said Clinton. “Endom. Which Endom bridge he had dedicated to them back in 1986.”

Clinton says keeping his dad’s legacy alive will fall on his family’s shoulders.

“So it’s become a family effort. We want to retain what he started from five generations back and keep it going for the future,” Clinton told KNOE.

Clinton added that his father always hoped to see the mayors of Monroe and West Monroe working together towards a better community. He was grateful to see that Mayors Ellis and Mitchell are working towards a unified oneroe.

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