She was born in Cedar Hill, Texas in 1939 and graduated from Duncanville High School. She was a graduate of East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas with an Education Degree specializing in Home Economics.
After marrying Jay Downes in 1960, they lived in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, then Houston, Texas, and Springfield, Ohio. During this time, she was a teacher, professional seamstress, and stay-at-home-mom (even working while husband Jay finished his engineering degree at the The University of Texas at Austin). After moving to Alice, Texas, USA in 1977, she helped establish Energy Dynamics. Rheba was a lifelong employee and matriarch of EnDyn. One of her many legacies was helping to organize EnDyn’s annual participation in the Relay for Life Cancer Walk.
Rheba’s strong faith was evident by her growing up a devout Southern Baptist and later, a life long member of the United Methodist Church. She served on various committees, taught Sunday School, and sang in the church choir (always louder when old Baptist Hymns were sung!).
Rheba was loyal supporter of Alice High School athletics, especially football. She was also found in Austin most Saturdays during the fall watching the Texas Longhorns. Her fandom grew in later years to include Longhorn Volleyball and Baseball. There was no fan that yelled louder when watching grandchildren activities, such as soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, and basketball.
The golf bug was introduced to Rheba by late husband Jay. She excelled at this sport initially as a survival tool, as Jay loved the game dearly. However, over the years, she beloved the game as well. When not playing while traveling abroad, or at Horseshoe Bay, she could be found honing her swing with the Ladies Golf Association of the Alice Country Club.
In later years, Rheba absolutely loved to travel. Trips to Ireland, Scotland, England, Mediterranean and continental USA were frequent. She even took several motorcycle trips with friend Jim Soper, including a big one to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Her absolute favorite spot was Italy. Several visits to the Tuscany Region were required with friends to enjoy pizza, gelato, and several glasses of wine.
Rheba was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She is survived by two children, Kevin Ray Downes (Kati) of Alice, Texas and Terri Downes Chaisson (Darrin) of Lucas, Texas; two sisters, Wanda Easterly of Alvarado, Texas and Ramona Murphy of Lake Twonkonee, Texas; four grandchildren: Caroline Anne Downes, Kendall Jaye Downes, TreLuke Downes Chaisson, Gavin Paul Chaisson.
A memorial service was held on December 28th at 1:30 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Alice. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Jay Downes Memorial Golf Scholarship Fund (Coastal Bend Community Foundation attn. Karen Wesson 600 Leopard Street, Suite 1716 Corpus Christi, Texas 78401; tel. 361.882.9745, www.cbcfoundation.org) or American Cancer Society – Jim Wells County Relay for Life (attn. Elice Hayslip, c/o EnDyn, 300 West First St., Alice, Texas tel. 361.668.8311).