Alice Evans Downie

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Alice Houston Evans Downie, 91, passed away Monday, June 2, 2014, at her ranch home in Terrell County. Alice was born on March 9, 1923, in San Antonio to Doris (Houston) and George Noyes Evans Sr. She was the granddaughter of Alice (Thompson) and George Littlefield Houston and the great-granddaughter of Dora (Chenault) and James Dunn Houston, one of Texas’s early trail drivers. Saint Mary’s Hall (Ruth Coit School, class of 1940), Ogontz and the University of Texas (Pi Phi) were Alice’s schools. English riding and jumping, hunting with her father, and fishing and sailing at summer camp in Wisconsin were Alice’s interests during her teen years. Alice “fell in love” with “G” Downie when they attended Sunday school together at First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. Their courtship resumed while he was attending Washington & Lee in Lexington, Virginia and she was at Ogontz in Philadelphia. Alice and Walter Gregory Downie were married on May 5, 1943, at First Presbyterian Church. After the war ended, they settled in West Texas on the Terrell/Pecos County ranch that had been established in 1881 by his grandfather, Charles A. Downie, the area’s first permanent sheep man. As a young bride, Alice founded the Garden Club in Sanderson. She worked to establish annual flower shows and invited professional flower show judges and speakers to participate. In later years she was a member and past president of the Fort Stockton Garden Club. Alice’s love of flowers and gardening was evident in her beautiful yard with fruit trees and a vegetable garden. “Meme” shared her grandmother’s recipes for chili sauce, apricot jam and bread and butter pickles with her grandchildren. Their summer visits to the ranch usually always included making memories in Meme’s kitchen. Her yard continued to be her focus throughout her almost 69 years of living on the ranch. Alice had an avid interest in genealogical research and family history. In 1978 she edited and published the history of Terrell County: “Terrell County, Texas, Its Past, Its People.” A short while later she began researching her ancestry and traced it back to Mayflower passengers, John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley. She was a direct descendant of the Rev. James Noyes and Dorothy Stanton Noyes and became a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas. She inspired her descendants to learn more about their ancestors and gave each of them a family scroll detailing a rich heritage. Alice also made time to pursue her love of bird watching, photography, hunting and reading. During the 1980s, she spent several years photographing birds. Her photographs were collected and hung in several shows in West Texas. She also greatly enjoyed her membership in the Magno Usui Study Club in Fort Stockton. She was in the ranching business for many years, operating her great-grandfather’s ranch in Uvalde County and, since her husband’s death in 1999, managing the Downie Ranch. She was preceded in death by her husband, her mother and father, one brother, George Noyes Evans Jr., and two nephews, Dunn Houston Evans and Jim Houston Evans. She is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law, Suzanne and Walter Armstrong, and Christine and Glen Bob Hinkle; five grandchildren and their spouses: Downie Armstrong Mickler and husband, Bobby; Waddy Armstrong and wife, Alexis; Evans Kott Walker and husband, Travis; Dancy Armstrong Tolson and husband, Dan; Dunn Armstrong and wife, Lindsay; twelve greatgrandchildren: Redding Downie Mickler, Emma Alice Mickler, Nancy Louise Mickler, Annette Houston Mickler, Robert W. Mickler IV, James Dunn Tolson, Eleanor Dancy Tolson, Olivia Peyton Tolson, Jonathan Loring Tolson, Charlotte Nolte Armstrong, Banks Graham Armstrong, Ella Bradford Armstrong; brother and sister-in-law, Houston and Jeanne Evans; brother-in-law, Jack N. Downie; sisters-in-law, Gladys Bondurant Lee and Kay Baldwin Bondurant; eight nieces and one nephew. Alice and G Downie were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Sanderson. Her funeral service will be at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 5. 2014, at the First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Toby Brown officiating. Interment will follow in Sanderson at Cedar Grove Cemetery. Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home of the Big Bend. Pallbearers are Dunn Houston Armstrong, Walter Nolte Armstrong, Walter Nolte Armstrong Jr., Dee Houston Evans, Glen Bob Hinkle, Robert Wellington Mickler III, Daniel Brian Tolson and Travis Det Walker. Honorary pallbearers are W. T. Bondurant III, Jack N. Downie, Houston Evans, Rick Foster, Alfredo Gallegos, Barton Harkins, Jolly Harkins, Steve Harkins and Frankie Lopez. Memorials may be sent to the First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 629, Sanderson, TX., 79848 or West Texas Boys Ranch, 10223 Boys Ranch Road, San Angelo, TX., 76904. The family extends special thanks to Tiffany McColley Lopez for her extraordinary care, devotion, and joyous, loving relationship with Meme; to Della Rodriguez for her years of special loving care and dedication; to Liz Sugars for her exceptional nursing skills and enlightening friendship; and to the staff of PCMH Home Health and Hospice for their compassionate care. THE PRECEDING IS A PAID OBITUARY.
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