Robert W. Downing

Robert W. Downing 92, passed away on January 5, 2019. Born in Saratoga Springs, NY on March 10, 1926, he was the son of Walter and Lillian Downing.

Bob was a vegetable farmer on his family farm in Ballston Lake, where he lived his whole life. He was known as “Pumpkin Downing” and took great pride in his vegetable gardens. Bob was a member of the Saratoga County Farmers Market Association and sold his vegetables at the local farmers market for many years where he was loved and respected by his fellow farmers and neighbors.

He was predeceased by his longtime companion Betty LaFountain, sister Ruth Downing Smith, and nephew David Smith. Bob is survived by his nephews Richard Smith (Shelley) of Charlton and William “Billy” Smith of Charlton.

Relatives and friends are invited to a funeral service 10am Saturday, January 12 at Armer Funeral Home, Inc., 39 East High Street, Ballston Spa. Burial will be private. Memorial contributions in memory of Bob may be made to the Saratoga County Animal Shelter, 6010 County Farm Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.

Guest Book

Susan M. Paulson -Bidwell

He was a favorite customer of mine when I worked at Tractor Supply. I’d worry about him when he came in he would seem a bit confused so I always treated him like I’d want my dad treated and he was just a sweet person. He had a great smile and you could see the kindness in him. I’m sorry to hear of his passing. My sympathy to all.

Beth Hatlee Peek

I am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing. Like so many others, I knew him all my life. He was one of my dad's closest friends. I remember going to the farm many times as a youngster. He and Betty attended my wedding many moons ago. The neighborhood lost a good man and it will never be the same without him. Most folks knew him as Bob, others knew him as a little girl I named him "Popeye". He like to remind me of that every time I saw him. RIP Popeye...We will miss you. Say Hi to Mom and Dad!

Holly Ann Weatherill

I am so sorry to hear about Bob's passing. He was a good friend to my father and they shared many great times together. I remember when I was in college at Potsdam, Bob and my father drove up to move me out of my third floor apartment. It was a whooping 30 below but Bob had that kind smile on his face as we loaded his truck with my treasures. He would remind me of that trip often when we would see each other many years after.

It will be very strange not to see vegetables at his stand this summer and pumpkins in the yard in the fall. I know he is probably catching up with my Dad in heaven and both are enjoying long conversations together.

Kevin Weatherill

In the last few years Bob told me he had three Kevins, I'm Raylinsky Road Kevin, he even addressed a Christmas card as Raylinsky Road Kevin. Its hard to imagine the things I did learn from Bob. We rebuilt my Ferguson tractor, many times during that process you see the bottom white of his eyes as he rolled them back in his head.

Bob had pigs, sometimes they would get loose and a tour of Bob's corn field and property was given chasing pigs.

Many visits and conversations are remembered. If you were going to leave you had to get him away from the car, he liked to lean and spend another hour. Many of his talks were useful and helpful to encourage growing and maintaining a garden and property.

I'll miss Bob.

Paula Herrington Barrett

I am so saddened to hear of Bob’s passing.
I’ve known him since I was born........he
Was a neighbor and was a very dear friend
Of my father.

We had such fun as kids sleigh-riding
Down the hill near his barn......
I even remember Bob’s dad.....Walt.

He visited often.....and would share his
Stories of the farm.........and would laugh easily.

Each year I brought my children to see
“Farmer Bob”, as they selected their
Halloween pumpkins from his choices.

It is truly the end of an era in our community..
Bob will be missed by many.

Ron Benoit

So long "Big Bob", you were a great friend and an even better neighbor! You will be dearly missed.

Barb and Steve Tata

We are so sad to hear of Bob's passing. You could tell by looking at his hands that he worked hard all his life. He was our favorite farmer at the farmer's market at St. George's Church. I always went to his table and bought green beans for my mom. You could ask him any question and he had the answer plus a story to go along with it. He was a kind and gentle human being. God Bless.

Bill Schultz

I met Mr. Downing through Mr. Parks on Sweet Road in 1975. Mr. Downing subsequently hired me to help him bail hay. I was a teenager then and looked up to him. My wife would buy vegetables from his stand. We are saddened that he is gone.

Megan Mrozek Charlebois

So sorry to hear of Bob's passing. I spent my whole childhood living across the street from Bob's land on Sweet Road. He was a dear friend to my family and fellow farmer. He will be sorely missed.

George Solotruck

Growing up on Eastline at a farm in the 50’s you couldn’t have a better neighbor or friend than Bob.
God speed.
George Solotruck

Robert Furlani

So sad to hear about his passing. He was a great customer and friend how many years sitting in Sonny's enjoying a meal. He will be missed by all of his customers and friends may he be at peace.

Aaron Morris

I was so saddened to hear the news of Bob's passing. I keep bees on his property and always enjoyed my chats with Bob. He was a kind, generous man, sharing his time and stories, and stories, and more stories! He always told me, "I bought my first bike from your Dad." One time I got stuck in the field, and Bob was quick to offer an assist, firing up his old tractor, hitching a chain to my truck, and rescuing me from the muddy quagmire! He was a good man, his passing is a great loss for our community.

Karen Pappalau Reith

I have fond memories of Bob and Betty when I was a kid growing up in Ballston Spa - My father George was very good friends with Bob and helped him on his farm Bob loved my brother Jimmy Pappalau. Our family was very sad to learn of his death. I am so sorry for his family

Suzanne Carreker-Voigt

My condolences to his family. Bob had his stand at the SFM right next to the market shed where I worked. He was the kindest and most generous man. I looked forward to our time together every Wednesday in the outdoor market season. His vegetables were also delicious -- they tasted like the ones from my grandfather's garden. Thank you Bob for blessing us all with your well lived life. Heaven just got a true farmer.

Amy Flanders

I only recently met your Uncle while he did his banking at BSNB, but he left a lasting impression on me. I visited him last fall, took him a cup of coffee, and purchased a few pumpkins from him. We had an enjoyable talk that day and I even met “Brownie”. I feel your loss as I will miss seeing him and I only knew him a short time. My heart aches for you and your families. God Bless you.

Ed Bennett

So sorry for your loss. I was one of many at the Jonesville Helping Hands Food Pantry whose path crossed Bob’s. It is safe to say that we all got to cherish Bob in the many years that he came to to the pantry to pick up the left overs to feed his pigs. While a friend to all, he was special! We will miss him.


Mrs. James Pappalau

So sorry for your loss. Bob was a great person and had a big heart. He will be missed dearly.

Love, Carole(Stowe), Samantha. Ryan, and the late Jimmy Pappalau

Jack & Mary Peroha

He will be missed by all his friends at McDonald's.