"He's a good father, a good husband, and a good man, and a good son," Bessie Downey proudly stated about Marshall Downey, her husband of 63 years, "but don't tell him I said that." Marshall met Bessie when his mother was having a baby and Bessie came to work there to help out. "She baked me my 17th birthday cake," Marshall grinned. "And I guess you can tell by looking at me that she's a pretty good cook." They lived just 60 miles apart in southwesten Kansas before moving to Beulah, but neither one knew it. Marshall built their home here in Beulah from scratch after he retired in 1981. "We moved in on November second, my birthday, and Marshall worked me so hard that he didn't have to take me out to dinner," said Bessie, who was pleased that her husband, who had worked so many years at a desk, could build such a beautiful home.
Marshall Downey's grandparents came to Beulah in 1898 after homesteading in Kansas. His grandfather worked most of his life for his family and other people, and was buried here in the Beulah Cemetery. Marshall's dad attended Cedar Grove School, was a dry land farmer and a sharecropper. "We moved around a lot," Marshall remembers, "and in fourth grade I went to five different schools." Marshall also attended Mountain View School on Water Barrel Flats and believes his teacher was named Neeva Shipley in the one room schoolhouse. Marshall attended Pueblo Junior College and later Denver University where he received his BA in Business and then lived in Denver for 30 years. He has worked at C.F.I, and United Airlines, but most of his career was with the Public Service Company as an accountant and auditor before supervising their employee health insurance and later their credit union. Marshall served our country during WWII stationed in the Marshall Islands as an Aviation Metalsmith in the United States Navy.
"It took 30 days by covered wagon to get from Kansas to Beulah," remembers Marshall "and I made the trip back and forth twice between 1925 and 1929. Once I camped near the school yard in Lamar, Colorado and corralled my dad's horses on the fenced playground." Marshall has ridden horses from the time he was big enough to sit on one, and has ridden everywhere you can see from the back of the Hogbacks all the way to Pueblo Reservoir and beyond, plus all over the flats and hills east of Highway 78.
Marshall's love and pride was apparent when speaking of his son, daughter, four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter.
On being a father, Marshall thought carefully and then said proudly, "I guess I've got a pretty good relationship with my children. They still come to see me for advice." He then spoke of a time when he and his son were struck by lightening on August 23, 1976. "It was a pack trip back in the mountains north of Pagosa Springs. There were nine men and seventeen head of horses. One man and seven horses were killed. The saddle mule my son was riding was dead and laying on my son's legs. I thought my son was dead, too. When he was clear of the mule, I hit my son in the middle of his shoulder blades as hard as I could. I don't know why I hit him like that. Then he started gasping for air and I knew my son was alive. My son doesn't remember all of this, but I do." Marshall and his son Bill still go horseback riding together. Bill is now the County Commissioner in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Marshall Downey is a good father, a good husband and a good son. He is kind, caring, knowledgeable about his community, portrays high moral values, and enjoys living next to the school yard in Beulah. Happy Father's Day, Marshall!
This article is reprinted from the June, 2002 issue of The Beulah Banner