Master Chief Petty Officer (Submarines) USN (retired) William Downing passed away on January 6, 2020 at Somerby in Santa Rosa Beach from complications of influenza. Bill was born in Pueblo, Colorado to William Sr. and Irene Downing and in 1940 moved from Colorado to Hermiston, Oregon. After graduating high school, he attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where his grades led him to drop out of college and join the Navy. Graduating Submarine School in New London, Connecticut, he was assigned to an active diesel submarine in Panama, Canal Zone, and subsequently served on both diesel and nuclear fast attack submarines in both the Atlantic and Pacific and also had multiple tours on force commander staffs in Hawaii and Connecticut. During Bill’s long career he served in many overseas tours and in 1956 was working at the American Embassy in Karachi, Pakistan with the Naval Attaché where he met Bettie Burns who was also working in the embassy for the U.S. Government. They were married in San Francisco the following year and lived there through the birth of their two children. They subsequently were stationed in Hawaii, Italy, England, Puerto Rico and Florida. After serving 38 years in the Navy, Bill retired and came to Bluewater Bay where he worked as a Starter/Marshal on the golf course for 20 years. He loved to play golf and work near people who shared his passion. Later in his life he joined the course at Eglin. He met and made many friends at the golf course and usually welcomed visitors with a handshake or a hug. Predeceased by his son, David, Bill is survived by his loving wife of 62 years and by his daughter, Lee and son-in-law John Jacob. Bill was well-loved by his family and friends and known as a devoted family man and all-around athlete, having a lifetime achievement of 8 holes-in-one.
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