Cover photo for Bertie Arlene Downing's Obituary
Bertie Arlene Downing Profile Photo

Bertie Arlene Downing

September 29, 1931 — October 6, 2023

Greenbrier

Bertie Arlene Downing

Bertie Arlene Downing, 92, of Greenbrier, Arkansas passed away October 6, 2023. Born on September 29, 1931, in her beautiful hometown of Philomath, Oregon, to the late George Washington and Lorna Bell Small, Bertie fell in love with a career United States Air Force airman, Kenneth Downing. This love fueled another love of travelling when the Air Force relocated them to Germany for two years in 1958. They spent those two years traveling across Europe visiting Poland, Austria, and France as well as many other countries. 

In 1960, the US Air Force relocated Bertie and her family to the Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Washington. Although she was leaving her Europe trekking adventures behind her, she was happy to make this move as it brought her closer to her hometown and family. During her five years in Washington, she was an accountant at First Electric. She was also able to continue her travels by visiting Canada and many western states as well as the west coast.

Then, the US Air Force moved Bertie and her family to Arkansas in 1965, becoming the place she called home for the next 58 years. Upon initially moving to Arkansas, Bertie decided to take the opportunity to focus on her three children, becoming a full time homemaker.  Then, in 1967, Bertie succumbed to Ken’s charm and finesse and was persuaded to open their own business, National Travelers RV Center in Sherwood, Arkansas. It wasn’t long until the business took off and a conglomerate of National Travelers was created in Olive Branch, Mississippi in 1993. During this time, Bertie reprised her accounting career and for the next 34 years excelled as the bookkeeper for National Travelers. Owning the business would prove to have its perks as Bertie was able to intertwine her love for travel through company trips to Alaska, China, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Spain, and Switzerland.

She retired from National Travelers in 2001 when the company moved to Conway, Arkansas. However, in 2005, Bertie came out of retirement to assist with the company accounting. If asked, she would tell everyone that the business required her expertise, which was true in part, but everyone knew that the real reason was because she was not able to be idle. Finally, in 2011, at the young age of 80, Bertie officially retired permanently. This retirement allowed her to travel and spend time with family in Arkansas as well as to travel back to her hometown to visit family in Oregon.

Bertie Downing leaves behind a legacy of love and achievement that will forever be cherished by her family and friends. She is preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Kenneth Downing; sisters, Ethel Price, Mable Lee, Wauneta Zimmerman, and Ruby Mears; parents, George and Lorna Small; and granddaughter-in-law, Anda Block. She is survived by her children, Linda Block of Greenbrier, Arkansas, Pamela Joy Downing of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Ronald Downing (Brandi) of Beaverton, Oregon; grandsons, Christopher Block of Greenbrier; Shaun and Ashley Block of North Little Rock; William Downing of Sikeston, Missouri; and Dustin Downing of Nicholls, Georgia; granddaughters, April and Jeffrey Cook of Sikeston, Missouri; and Jasmine Morgan of Kelso, Washington; great-grandchildren, Andrew Block and Cole Block of Greenbrier; Catherine Block and William Block of North Little Rock; Kenneth Downing of Sikeston, Missouri; Hudson Cook of Sikeston, Missouri, and Ari Mezyk of Kelso, Washington; nieces, nephews, and a host of family and friends.

The family would like to thank Jaime Cottrell, Anna Morgan, and Donna Terry for their care, support, companionship, and kindness during Bertie’s past few years.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to North Pulaski United Methodist Church in Sherwood, Arkansas.

Visitation will be Wednesday, October 11, 2023 from 6:00PM-8:00PM at Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home (1921 Main Street). A funeral service will be held at 2:00PM Thursday, October 12, 2023 at the funeral home. Private burial will be held at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bertie Arlene Downing, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home - North Little Rock

1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Smith Family Funeral Home - North Little Rock

1921 Main St, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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