Mable Downer Williams


Mabel D. Williams, 95, of Superior, passed away Saturday, September 24 at Essentia Health Duluth. She was born in Bowdle, SD, on November 2, 1926, the daughter of Adney and Alma Downer.

Mabel graduated from the University of Jamestown, Jamestown, ND with a dual degree in Art and Religion. She was accepted by the Presbyterian Board of Missions and taught art to students in both Sitka, AK and Haines, AK. She returned to school and received a master’s degree in Library Science from Emporia State University, Emporia, KS. Mabel returned to Alaska and was librarian at Sheldon Jackson Junior College in Sitka, AK. She eventually transferred to Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC where she met her husband, Paul L. Williams, Jr. They were married on June 29, 1961, in Roscoe, SD. Following Paul’s retirement, Paul and Mabel volunteered at private schools in Mississippi, North Carolina, Alaska, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Mabel was a member of United Presbyterian Church, serving on many committees and as a Sunday School teacher. She enjoyed growing houseplants, gardening, and reading. Another source of pleasure was traveling, especially when it involved visits with family. She was the keeper of the Downer Family history and was in contact with as many friends and relatives as she could up until her death.

She was preceded in death by her husband Paul, her parents, and siblings: Ella Downer, May Anderson, Edna Brucklacher, Perry Downer, and Ivan Downer.

Mabel is survived by her children, Mary Williams of Superior and Laura Williams of Gaithersburg, MD along with numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces.

Her visitation will be on Monday, November 7, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. until the 2:00 p.m. funeral service at United Presbyterian Church, 229 N 28th Street with a reception to follow. Pastor Brett Foote will officiate.

The family would like to thank the staff at Villa Marina Health and Rehabilitation for caring for Mabel the past 18 months.

Burial will be in Freeman, SD at a later date.

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to United Presbyterian Church or to the donor’s choice in memorial of Mabel.

Downs Funeral Home, 1617 N 19th St., is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave an online condolence, please visit

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