ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- Rubye P. Downs passed to eternal glory Friday, March 11, 2011, at her daughter's home in Zionsville after a brief illness. She was born April 2, 1921, near Malden, Mo., the daughter of Joseph Henry and Mahala Jane (Warner) Blackburn. She attended elementary and high school in Risco, Mo., and three years at Southeastern Missouri State Teachers College in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
On March 2, 1945, she married her sweetheart, Robert Thomas Downs. He was a B25 flight engineer in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theatre in World War II. After World War II, he left the Army Air Corps and they resided in St. Louis for five years while he pursued a civilian career in manufacturing until the Korean War, when he was called back into active service in the Air Force. The early years of her marriage were devoted to raising their children, teaching part time and finishing her bachelor's degree in education.
She attended Eastern Oregon State and finished her bachelor's degree at Marymount College in Salina, Kan., in 1957. In the '50s, she taught first grade in Oregon and Salina. In the early '60s, her husband was transferred to Michigan, where she continued to teach first grade. During this time, she completed her master's in education from Central Michigan University.
She returned to Salina in the mid '60s, where she was director of Media Services for the Salina Public Schools for 17 years, during which she built a library audiovisual program for the Salina schools. She retired in 1983.
Her professional accomplishments include: president of the Kansas School Library Media Directors, president of the Kansas Association of School Librarians and president of Kansas Council of Information Sciences, and in 1984, she was awarded the Distinguished Library Media Specialist award by the Kansas Association of School Librarians. In 1983, the United School Administrators of Kansas and the Kansas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development awarded a life membership to Downs upon her retirement. She was an active member of the American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians and Freedom to Read Foundation for many years. She served on many committees and assisted in workshops nationally. She served at both the local and national level as president of Delta Kappa Gamma. . . . (Taken from 3/15/11 Salina Journal)