Community booster fondly remembered

Eleanor Down was involved in numerous activities throughout Vernon

Eleanor Down

Eleanor Down

Eleanor Down is being remembered for her compassion, energy and love for Vernon.

The former Good Citizen died Saturday at the age of 98.

“She believed in doing things in a big way,” said daughter Dixie Bennett. “She was in every organization that ever was.”

Among the groups Down was involved in were the Seniors Resource Bureau, Save Our Lakes, the Old Age Pensioners and Vernon Christian School.

She was instrumental in bringing the McCulloch Court retirement residence to reality.

“Everyone told her it couldn’t be done. She wasn’t taking no from anyone,” said son Chub Down.

Decorated in red and white, Eleanor Down was also active in Canada Day celebrations, and specifically the strawberry tea.

“She always had a twinkle in her eye,” said Patrick Nicol, former Canada Day chairperson.

Down was among the people who lobbied the veteran councillor to first run for office.

“She mentored many young people, including myself,” said Nicol.

Funtastic was also another favourite for her.

“She was just a tremendous person,” said John Topping, founder of the slowpitch tournament. “She was very kind and always there in support.”

She advocated for Vernon Winter Carnival, tourism and transit and wasn’t afraid to call city hall  if she believed an issue needed to be addressed.

“She was a real mover and shaker when she wanted something done,” said Bennett.

A registered nurse, Down first arrived in Vernon in 1948 and along with husband Harold, she operated a beauty salon, a riding stable, the Sandy Beach Tent and Trailer Court and Down’s Residence, a psychiatric care facility.

But a lot of what Down did went on behind the scenes, with little fanfare.

“If she heard of someone in need, she’d call her friends and they’d go over and clean the house and put food in there,” said Chub.

“A lot of them were single moms and she helped them get on track. She drilled it into us that you never walked by someone if you can help.”

Down is survived by her children Chub, Dixie and Chris, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is predeceased by husband Harold and sons Daryl and Rick.

A remembrance service will be held March 22 at 11 a.m. at Vernon Alliance Church.