Frances Christine Paxton Downey

Published 8:47 pm Saturday, March 4, 2017

Frances Christine Paxton Downey passed away at home Friday, March 3, 2017, surrounded by her family.  She was 91.

Born Jan. 31, 1926, Frances was the daughter and youngest child of Ellie Blanche Brown Paxton and Theo Vallient Paxton Sr. Frances, her parents, and grandparents were lifelong residents of Warren County.

After graduating from Culkin Academy High School in 1943, she taught as a substitute at Bovina School for several years. She was an active supporter of the Warren County Home Demonstration Club and the 4-H Club programs.

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Frances Paxton and Herbert Aden Downey Jr., were married in Vicksburg on May 10, 1945. They owned and operated their farm, Walking “D” Ranch, and later established a business, Waste Control Incorporated.  Upon Herbert’s untimely death in 1986, Frances retired after leasing the family farm and selling the family business.

Frances was a longstanding, dedicated member of Porters Chapel United Methodist Church. She was a member of the choir, taught Sunday school, and served as Sunday school secretary. She also served as membership chair for 35 years.

In her gentle, quiet manner, Frances lived her life with grace, dignity, courage, strength, and wisdom. A devoted and loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Frances treasured family gatherings in celebration of milestones and holidays.

Frances excelled at her favorite pastime, gardening, as evidenced by her collection of landscape and container plants to which she tirelessly and joyously devoted her time. Also, over the years her house became home for various pets and rescue animals for which she showed great love and compassion.

In addition to her parents and her husband, Frances was preceded in death by her brothers, Theo Vallient Paxton Jr. and Albert Henry Paxton.

She is survived by her children, Marie Downey Pitre (Wayne), David Aden Downey (Penny McKee), and Marsha Downey Bridgers (David); her grandchildren, Jason Thomas Allen (Tammy Ferguson), Elbert (Bert) Lum Wright III (Tara Rogers), Anthony (Tony) Vallient Wright (Jenny Henley), Bradley Aden Downey (Alexandra Henley), Christopher Neal Downey (Holley Myrick), and Jessica Christine Downey; great-grandchildren, Nicholas Preston Aden Allen, Mason Aden Downey, Charlie Cole Downey, Paxton Neal Downey, Bowen Oakum Downey, and Tilly Ann Wright.

Services will be at Riles Funeral Home in Vicksburg Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at 11 a.m. with visitation from 9 a.m. until the hour of the service. The Rev. Don Williams of Porters Chapel United Methodist Church will officiate. Burial will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Pallbearers are Frances’ grandsons and her nephews, Michael Todd Downey, John Houston Paxton, and Michael Keith Paxton. Honorary pallbearers are Faye Lancaster, Phyllis and Harold Reed, Curtis Brewer, and her church family.

The family wishes to express their heartfelt gratitude to Frances’ devoted caregivers, Catherine Jones, Brenda Johnson, Cyndi McKay, Carolyn Parson, and Mary Pierce.

To honor Frances’ life, memorials may be made to Porters Chapel United Methodist Church, 200 Porters Chapel Road, Vicksburg, MS, 39180 or Batson Children’s Hospital, Post Office Box 22789, Jackson, MS, 39225-2789.