These words from John Brown’s Newspaper Article: Buzz Downing, 88, died in Michigan on December 8th. Buzz served the Southwest Coast District as a Referee for many years, especially when Betty was the Tournament Director. The Downings had wintered in Bradenton since 1969. Both are in the Southwest Coast District Hall of Fame.
Buzz had suffered a serious stroke 4 ½ years ago, shortly after leaving their home in Golf Lakes. His memory was seriously impaired by the stroke. Until then he had helped on the farm where he had raised white soup beans, soybeans, corn, sugar beets, and wheat. Until his death, he always asked about his crops. Mrs. Downing is functioning quite well as of now, and remembers us all. Their history in our District is enshrined in all our memories.
Stan Speaks: I thought I would enrich those memories for those who knew Buzz, and for those who did not, I would let them know that Shufflers lost a Friend. Click here to read the remarks offered on the occasion of their induction into the FSA HOF; Click. 2 Downings into HOF and now to the NATIONAL.
SPECIAL AWARD Remarks on the occasion of their induction into the US NATIONAL HOF. Induction by Buck Buchanon: Buzz and Betty Downing-Bradenton, Florida. Induction took place during July of 2007 at Lakeside, OH.
Buzz and Betty were presented to the group by Buck Buchanon-who, I might add, kept the audience in stitches during his comments. He indicated that they grew up in Michigan in towns rivaling each other. As Betty retrieved her coat from a social function, Buzz insisted on a little kiss. Of course, that first peck eventually led them to the alter. However, buzz developed appendicitis on their wedding day so they got married in the hospital! That was 57 years ago. Upon retirement, they went to Florida in ’69, eventually ending up in Gulf Lakes. They have been running tournaments for some 22 years now. He said that Buzz always carried the big stick, making final/third calls and he’s never missed one. So Buzz was given a wrapped package by Kay, which ended up being a referee’s stick with a magnifying glass on one end. Even though Buzz carries the big stick, Buck said, Betty was the Boss. So Kay presented her a shirt with Boss on it. Buck concluded his remarks by saying the Downings have been a real credit to shuffleboard-always the first ones at the courts and always the last to leave. Now it was the Downing’s turn-what a tough act to follow.
Betty, the boss, did the speaking saying her remarks would be short and sweet. She said, Thank You. Also, she commented that everyone who knows us knows what we’ve done. And the others, “Oh well”. Betty received the plaque from President Walt. Ann Wedel gave Buzz and Betty each a pin.
Buzz and Betty Downing.
I am here to present the MVP pins to this special couple, filling in for Ken Offenther. Although I cannot fill his shoes; he has done such a tremendous job presenting all of these pins and preparing all of the back grounds of the recipients.
Buzz and Betty Downing is the couple receiving the pins today. They are from a little town of Akron MI in the thumb. They will be leaving March 15 to go back home permanently. They will be missed by the shuffleboard family. They have been married over 60 years and have been coming to Fl since about l970. Buzz and Betty were inducted into the FSA Hall of Fame in 2005 and in the USA National Hall of Fame 2007 in the special awards category. Well deserved.
Buzz played shuffleboard for many years, but Betty did not play. She went along when they traveled the circuit and I am sure she made great lunches and was a good equipment manager.
Buzz was a referee for many years at the FL state masters as well as the SWC district open and amateur masters.
He also ran a referee school several years. After Buzz retired from playing he would go to the tournaments, enjoyed watching and visiting with the players. He may even give a little advice on do’s and don’ts of shuffleboard along the way.
Betty going to the tournaments with Buzz was asked by Tournament Director Dick Roby to help and she graciously accepted the challenge. After some time as helper she became a Director herself and has done so for 25 years. She was a director of SWC district tournaments along with Nationals here in Bradenton and Lakeside OH. She helped out St Pete and Clearwater when they were in need of directors. Betty ran TD schools here in our district several times. Buzz and Betty were a team; Betty running the tournament and Buzz her main helper on the courts, making 3rd calls and any decisions or penalties. Everything always seemed to run smoothly. I don’t believe anyone in the state knew the rules any better then these 2 people.
If Buzz and Betty would come up I would like to present them with the FL 100th Year Anniversary MVP pins.
Congratulations to these very special people. Remarks offered by Ann Wedel on 2013 02 17.
Article put together by Stan McCormack from my archives. 2017 12 12.