Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Obituary Archives

May 21, 2013

Donald Ellsworth Downard

PRINCETON — Donald Ellsworth Downard, 83, of Swan Lane, Princeton, died suddenly Saturday evening, May 18th 2013 at Princeton Community Hospital.

Born December 2, 1929, at Jackson, Ohio, he was the son of the late Ellsworth Fenton Downard and Tressia Downard.

Mr. Downard was a veteran of the Korean conflict serving with the United States Navy as a First-Class Petty Officer. After the service he went on to receive his Mechanical Engineering Degree from West Virginia University in 1958.

Mr. Downard was connected to the coal industry from his youth. He helped his father mine coal during the days when hand loading was the norm. He dropped out of high school, but obtained his GED in the Navy and went on to become a mechanical engineer and founded two successful businesses.

D.E. Downard was known as an innovator throughout his career. Working on a Navy machine tender vessel during the Korean War, he said he and his fellow sailors were constantly called on to build something from nothing. This served him well in civilian life, as he was known as an innovator throughout his career.

Both of the companies he founded were dedicated to solving the many problems found in underground mining equipment. Adaptation of his designs are commonplace today on mining equipment all over the world, and his second business expanded geographically and diversified into other industry such as steel, aviation and aerospace.

Downward Hydraulics was founded in 1975 by D.E. Downard for the purpose of manufacturing and rebuilding industrial hydraulic equipment.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two children Tim Downard and Tiffany Downard Harvey, along with two grandchildren Jessica Anne Harvey and John Harvey, and one brother Roger Downard.

He will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by his wife Mrula Suela Downard. Two sons, Don Downard Jr. and wife Lynda of Dublin Virginia; David Downard and wife Sandy of Princeton. His former wife and friend and mother of his children, Sandra Sue McCourt Downard of Princeton. Eight grandchildren, Aaron Highlander and husband Shannon, Donald McCourt Downard, Erica Downard, Kristen Downard, Rachael Downard, Ashley Bott Downard, Jonathan Harvey and Amber Harvey. Two great-grandchildren, Faith Elizabeth Worrell and Christian Evan Worrell. Four siblings, Jerry Downard, Pat Mabe, Judy Carlson, and Gene Downard. A host of nieces and nephews.

A service to honor and celebrate the life of Donald Downard will be held 8:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, May 22nd, 2013, from the Burns Wornal Chapel of the Memorial Funeral Directory on the Athens Road in Princeton with Dr. David Dockery officiating. Friends may visit with the family Wednesday evening from 6:00 until the service hour at the funeral home.

The family will honor Mr. Downard's request, his body will be cremated.

Online condolences may be shared with the family via

In lieu of flowers, Memorial gifts of love can be made to Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

The Downard family is being served by the Memorial Funeral Directory Cremation Center on the Athens Road in Princeton.

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