Marion Hamilton Downs

Oconee Enterprise
Friday, May 28, 1926
Page One

Death Comes To Marion Downs In Athens West Lake

From the Watkinsville Correspondent to Athens Banner:

One of the saddest happenings in this section in a long time was the drowning of Marion Downs in West Lake, Athens, last Saturday afternoon. The heart of our entire community went out in tenderest sympathy to the heart broken parents and other loved ones because of the unfortunate tragedy that cut short the life of this bright lad, who was a former pupil in Oconee High School and very popular among his little classmates here as he was among those with whom he last was associated in school life at Athens the past year.

The interment took place here Sunday afternoon and never has there ever been such profusion of flowers that literally covered the enclosure in which the little follow was laid to rest by the side of his maternal grandfather and grandmother.

Would that words could heal wounded hearts – only time can alleviate such suffering – so patiently we must await the dawning of the glad afterwhile when the perplexing problems of this earth will be dissipated in the bright rays of God’s own sunlight in that happy land of endless days.

The following account of Marion’s tragic death is taken from Sunday’s Athens Banner-Herald:

“Marion Downs, young son of Mr. and Mrs. Jos. H. Downs, was drowned in West Lake early Saturday afternoon. Funeral services will be held from the First Christian church this afternoon at 4 o’clock, interment following at Watkinsville, Ga. Rev. Stantley R. Grubb will officiate.

“The deceased, who was 11 years o age, had gone to West Lake along with his friend, Wm. P. White, Jr., to scatter bread crumbs on the water for the fish. This done, according to young White, who told of the tragedy between sobs, the boys lingered about the lake and presently Marion stepped into a light canoe and it is though, pushed it around a bend in the lake, following the water’s edge.

“Young White’s attention was presently attracted by the screams of his companion and, rushing to the scene, he saw Marion struggling in the water near the overturned canoe. Bill White, himself only thirteen, swam out in heroic effort to save the younger boy, who could not swim, but as the water was around fifteen feet deep where the canoe capsized, his efforts were futile.

Ralizing (sic) his inability to reach the lad, young White swam back to shore and hastened to the house, a distance of about a quarter of a mile, to give the alarm.

“Swimmers were on hand in a few moments and with the aid of grapplers, furnished by the police department, efforts were made to raise the body, which was accomplished by Walter Forbes. Jr., captain of the University of Georgia swimming team, who recovered the body a few moments after diving in to the lake.

“Every effort known to science was resorted to in order to resuscitate the youth, but proved unavailing. News of the tragic death rapidly spread and doctors and a large number of friends of the family rushed to the lake to be of assistance. Failing to revive him, the body was removed to Bernstein Bros. Funeral home, and after being prepared for burial was taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Grady Henson, on South Lumpkin Street, where it will repose until the hour of the funeral this afternoon.

“Young Marion Downs was a student at the Lumpkin Street school, being in the fifth grade, and was one of the most popular and most lovable pupils of that institution. His parents recently removed to Atlanta, where Mr. Downs is connected with White Motor Company, but the young man had remained in Ahens wih relaives (sic) in order to complete the scholastic year. Mr. and Mrs. Downs arrived in Athens shortly after the child’s body had been recovered, having left Atlanta earlier in the day for he (sic) purpose of spending he (sic) week end in Athens. Their countless friends in Athens as well as throughout both Clarke and Oconee counties where they are widely known, sympathize with them deeply in their great affliction.

“Marion Downs was the eldest of three brothers – a bright, attractive and manly little fellow, endowed with every qualification for developing into splendid young manhood; and possessed of marked traits of sincerity and loyalty, he enjoyed the friendship of all of his contemporaries, who today are grieved over his untimely death.

“At the funeral this afternoon the following gentlemen will act as pall-bearers: Messrs. Walter Hayes, Walter Marbut, Ralph C. House and O.D. Grimes. Six of the deceased’s young friends, Procter Campbell, Center Williamson, Richard Winston, Dan Northern, Robert Floyd and Jack Braswell will act as honorary pall-bearers, while the entire fifth grade “A” of Lumpkin Street school will act as escort.

“Besides the parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe H. Downs, the deceased is survived by his two younger brothers, Jos. Jr. and Audley Downs; his grandmother, Mrs. Edward Downs, Greatgrandmother, Mrs. Annie Whitehead; Aunts Mrs. Grady Henson and Miss Blanche Downs; Uncles, Mr. Monroe Butler, Mr. Jacob Butler and Mr. Chas. L. Downs, in addition to several great aunts and great uncles, including Mrs. Estelle Harrison and Mr. Fred Whitehead, fo (sic) Athens and a number of cousins.”