God gained an amazing man who was a loving husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, great grandfather & friend to all who had the privilege of knowing him. On Jan 27, 2021, at the age of 92, Roy E. Downham’s golden heart finally gave out.
Born January 14, 1929 in Antigo WI, to Edward Roy and Martha Downham of Westboro, WI. Roy was a 1946 graduate of Clintonville High School. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1946-1948 stationed aboard the USS Bayfield, APA-33 touring the East Coast of China. After an honorable discharge, he attended UW Madison on the G.I Bill. In 1951, Roy was elected into PI Tau Sigma and Tau Beta PI, National Engineering Honor Fraternities, the highest honor to be extended to engineering students nationwide. He graduated with honors in 1952, receiving a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering.
From 1952-54, Roy began his professional career as a sales engineer for the Trane Company, Davenport, IA. Following his plan, he then spent five years working for Ansul Chemical Company in Marinette WI as a Senior Design Engineer in the R & D department. Roy designed the first disposable dry chemical fire extinguisher and holds numerous patents in fire extinguisher design. While at Ansul, Roy taught Mechanical Drawing & Descriptive Geometry at UW–Marinette Extension Center.
In 1959, Roy joined Overly Inc., Neenah, WI. In 1962, he was promoted to Chief Engineer and in 1964 to Executive Vice President overseeing the designing and selling of various paper drying systems throughout the country and Europe.
On January 14, 1969, Roy, on his 40th birthday, along with his partners, Jack Frost and Jack Eckelaert, started a new dryer company named TEC Systems. Roy was elected President & Chairman of the Board. Within an 8 year period, the three men led Tec Systems to be the largest floatation dryer company in the U.S. TEC sold dryers to the printing, coating and film industries. TEC’s philosophy was “If we give people a little more than what they thought they were buying, you will be successful”.
While President of TEC, Roy co-invented the first Coanda air bar & designed the first compact floatation air dryer used in Graphic Arts. He also holds over 36 patents relating to air dryers and floatation devices.
TEC was sold to W. R. Grace in 1978. Roy stayed on as President & Chairman of the Board of TEC and Vice President of W. R. Grace, Polyfibron Division until his retirement in 1982 at age 53.
In 1982, Roy received the Distinguished Service Award from the De Pere Chamber of Commerce.
In May 1986, Roy came out of retirement and founded ASI (Advance Systems Inc.) ASI was the first tenant in Green Bay’s I-43 Business Center. Roy finally retired in 1999 at the age of 70. Roy enjoyed seeing people succeed and was helpful in starting other companies including Strategic Data Systems, Four-Corp and Belmark Co. of De Pere.
Roy and friends, Robert Schaefer, John Robishaw, James Temp and Donald Long founded the non-profit University Village Housing, Inc. to develop resident housing for students at UW-Green Bay. In 1994, Roy was recognized for his contributions to the development of university housing and for his service on the UVHI Board of Directors by UW-GB dedicating a new three story residence hall in his name (The Roy E. Downham Hall).
During his career, Roy served on the Board of Directors for the following companies: TEC Systems Inc., ASI, Four Corp, Strategic Data Systems, Belmark, Nautilus Condo Assoc., Hurlbut Inc., UVHI, Bay Highlands Development, Ltd. and Kellogg Bank (now Associated Bank) where he was a Director for 13 years.
On September 4, 1949, Roy married Jeanne Rhode of Clintonville WI. They enjoyed 40 years of marriage until her untimely death caused by a brain aneurysm in 1989. Roy is survived by his children: Bonnie Feldmann (David), Edward Roy Downham (Linda), Jody Lilla (Dennis) & Douglas Downham (Lisa); nine grandchildren, Matthew Feldmann (Marni), Tim Feldmann, Roy Downham II, Edward Downham, Becky Sheridan (Wade), Heidi Bucher, Amanda Goral, Samantha Moczydlowski (Andy), & Alexander Downham (Maria). Also surviving are seven great-grandchildren, Max & Mara Feldmann, Keegan, Kyle & Kiera Downham, Emily Lilla (Nick) & Lily Bucher & fur rescue kitties, Cleo (Roy’s favorite) & Chloe.
On June 30, 1990, Roy was twice blessed with his marriage to Patricia E. (Gillis) De Groot and is survived by Patricia & stepson, Brett De Groot.
Besides his parents, Roy was preceded in death by his brother, Cyril Downham, his sister, Cora Belle Keller & sister-in-law, Barbara Gillis.
Roy enjoyed hunting, fishing, designing cottages & homes, & boating. He loved the outdoors & spent many hours in the woods of Upper Michigan hunting & at his homes on Lake Gogebic & in Door County. He also enjoyed the many winters he and Pat spent in Florida at their homes on Marco Island and in Fort Myers.
As a loving father, his guidance, support, integrity & generosity, left an indelible mark on the lives of his children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren. He will be truly missed & forever loved by all.
Visitation for Roy will be held on Thursday, February 4, 2021 at Lyndahl Funeral Home, 1350 Lombardi Ave. from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Happily Ever After, https://www.heanokill.org/donate.html. A private funeral service will be held for Roy and a livestream will be available on his tribute page at www.lyndahl.com. Please scroll past his obituary to see the stream, which will begin at 10:00 AM on Friday morning, February 5, 2021. Roy will be laid to rest at Shrine of the Good Shepherd Mausoleum.
Roy & family would like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to the Aurora Cardiology Dept., especially Kelly Fredrickson, Anne Campbell & Bobbi Flynn for their outstanding care and compassion. Your phone calls made his day.
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Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary
2255 Fox Heights Lane, Green Bay WI 54304