Downer H. Kilby

Downer H. Kilby, 76, of West Bend, passed away on Thursday, April 19, 2012, surrounded by his daughters at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton.

He was born on May 6, 1935, to the late Jack and Adeline (nee Reichert) Kilby. Downer attended McLane Elementary and graduated from West Bend High School in the class of 1953. He went on to attend Wisconsin State College in Milwaukee for two years.

On June 21, 1954, he was united in marriage to Delores Mayer. On April 12, 1972, Downer was united in marriage to Joy Riffel in Las Vegas. Joy preceded him in death on Nov. 6, 1993. In April of 1996, Downer married Joy Rippel in Las Vegas.

When he was young, Downer worked summers and weekends for his grandfather, also named Downer, at the West Bend Canning Company and the West Bend Cattle Company. At the age of 20, he bought a moving tractor and trailer and began moving household goods and storing them. In 1956, he established Cartage and Storage. Downer became an agent for Cross Country and International Moving for Mayflower and then Greyhound Van Lines. He stayed in the moving business for 50 years.

Downer also opened Kilby Antiques where for 13 years, he bought, sold, and appraised antiques for banks and estates. He and his second wife, Joy, opened Sunseed Natural Foods which they operated for 20 years until Joy passed away.

Downer was a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He did a lot of traveling across the United States. He purchased property on Lake Camelot where he spent many weekends camping and fishing with family, friends, and his dogs, which were his faithful companions his entire life. Downer enjoyed going to casinos, and loved to play sheepshead and hike in the Kettle Moraine. He passed on his love of nature and all living things to his four daughters. Downer accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and his life started to take on a different meaning for him.

Downer is survived by his wife, Joy Kilby of West Bend; sister, Jane Hoffmann of Waukesha; four daughters, Debbi (Chuck) Myrhum of West Bend, Dori (Dean) Hagstrom of Phoenix, Dawn (Mike) Petri of Muscatine, Iowa, Denell (Mike Katchever) Staral of West Bend; eight step-children, Deborah (Rev. James) Lewis of Wisconsin Dells, Steven Batzler of Wisconsin Dells, Darryl Batzler of Waterloo, Craig (Tabitha) Batzler of Lomira, Clayton Batzler of Lomira, John Kuhaupt of Milwaukee, Matthew Wench of Kewaskum, and Tony Wench of West Bend; 21 grandchildren, Sara (fiancÚ Paul Roemer) Myrhum, Matt (Nicky) Myrhum, Kelley Mack, Paul (Monica) Petri, Ryan Petri, Randy Petri, Jake Staral, Samantha Staral, Tony Staral, Elisha (Nick) Betts, Elisabeth Lewis, David Lewis, Nicholas Batzler, Natosha Batzler, Myranda Batzler, Cade Batzler, Heather (Henrique) Hilgenberg, Anthony (Rachael) Batzler, Sarah (Charles) Bock, Brandon (Sarah) Batzler, and Andrea (Jerry Kane) Batzler; 14 great-grandchildren, Nathan Myrhum, Cole, Sofia, and Izabella Mack, Isabella and Evelyn Betts, Caileana Batzler, Elizabeth and Evelyn Hilgenberg, Olivia and Paige Bock, Christian, Emanuel and Ryley Faith Batzler; brothers-in-law, Christ (Kathy) Riffel, King (Mary) Riffel, and Michael Riffel, Dawn (David) Krenz, and Lorelei (Kevin) Krogmann; a sister-in-law, Sharon Riffel; many nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.

Downer was preceded in death by his parents; his second wife, Joy M. Kilby; brother-in-law, Paul Riffel; sister-in-law, Faith Riffel; and nephew, Mike Dettmann.

Funeral service in remembrance of Downer will be held on Sunday, April 29, at 4 p.m. at the Myrhum-Patten Funeral Home, 1315 W. Washington St., West Bend. Visitation will be Sunday at the funeral home from 2:30 p.m. until the time of the service. Burial will be on Monday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m. in Washington County Memorial Park.

In Lieu of flowers or plants, memorials to the Washington County Humane Society or to the Milwaukee County Zoological Society are appreciated by the family.

Online guestbook and condolences may be found at

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the doctors and staff at the Aurora Medical Center Grafton Hospital for the compassionate care they gave Downer.