James Everette (Cotton or Jim) Downs, age 86, of Mena, passed from this world on Friday, August 5, 2016. He was born in the Rich Mountain community on August 9, 1929, to the late Horace S. Downs and Eppah E. Mackey Downs.
James attended Eagleton and Acorn schools, graduating from Acorn High School in 1948. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned initially to the Fourth (4th) Infantry Division at Fort Ord, CA, then to the Forty-Sixth (46th) Anti-Aircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion for basic training. Afterward, James was deployed to active duty during World War II occupation and the Korean War, stationed in Japan. He also served in the Arkansas National Guard.
Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Military, James earned his B.S. degree in Engineering from Oklahoma State University at Stillwater, OK. He was credentialed as a Professional Engineer (P.E.) and worked in the aerospace industry (Boeing, LTV/Ling-Temco-Vought, Lockheed) and rail industry (Servitron, AEP/SWEPCO until retiring from AEP, returning home to the Mena area in 1995.
James was preceded in death by, his parents, Horace S. Downs and Eppah E. Mackey Downs; his brother, Melvin Downs, and an infant sister. He was married to the late Marjorie Copelin Downs, and is survived by their children, daughter Rita Downs Lawrence, and son-in-law, Tommy Lawrence of Hallsville, TX, and son, James E. Downs, Jr., of Little Rock, AR. He is also survived by, his brother and sister-in-law, Joe & Faye Downs; nephews and nieces, Tom (Brenda) Downs, Karen (Jerry) Downs Carter, Dexter Downs, and Margaret (Anthony) Downs Baker, as well as several great-nephews and a great-niece.
A viewing for all family and friends will be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, August 9, 2016, at the Beasley Wood Funeral Home in Mena followed by funeral services with military honors at 2:00 PM. Interment will follow at the Eagleton Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Ouachita River Schools, Acorn Campus, FBLA 143 Polk 96, Mena, AR 71953.