Joe Selby Downes Sr. passed away peacefully on Nov. 11, 2022, with his wife, Elizabeth, at his side.
Life for Joe began on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He was born on June 25, 1935 to Harry Rudolph Downes and Lucile Widgeon Downes in Capeville, and later moved to Eastville. He enjoyed small town life, surrounded by friends and extended family. He kept these friendships his entire life, never forgetting his Eastern Shore roots. He always said he had a wonderful childhood and a lucky life.
After high school, he attended Randolph-Macon Academy, then joined the Army. He furthered his education at VCU, graduating with a B.A. in Business and Accounting. This led to successful teaching and coaching positions at Thomas Dale High School. Always looking for a challenge, and always a fan of boats, he moved to Deltaville where he bought and operated Porpoise Cove Marina. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge for over 50 years.
Joe had a full and adventurous life. He met and made friends easily. He was a traveler, not a tourist, taking interest in discovering the character and culture wherever he found himself. Throughout his adult life, he traveled with his friends and family, eventually to all 50 states, most of Canada, many countries in Europe, the Caribbean and the Bahamas. His greatest joys involved traveling on his many boats with his family and friends, most of all his Krogen 42 named “Take Five.” Later he traveled across the country, taking his RV as far away as Alaska.
At home on the Ware River, he enjoyed puttering in the yard, working in his shop, hosting oyster roasts and steamed crab feasts, listening to his favorite music and just watching the sun change the colors on the marsh. Joe was always ready to share a cold one with friends, and to tell stories and listen to the stories of others. He enjoyed the company of his furry friends, “Bailey,” “Gracie” and “Bob.”
Joe had a thoughtful quiet nature interspersed with moments of great enthusiasm. Joe was a wonderful husband and father, a devoted friend, and an insightful mentor. His influence on all of us will not be forgotten.
Joe is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; his children and their spouses, Joe Jr. and Gina, Liz and Jonni and Jill; grandchildren, Virginia and Amanda, and great-grandchildren. Cousins Julie, Jim and Brett also survive him.
Joe was predeceased by his parents and his big brother, Rudy.
Our family wishes to thank the doctors, nurses, and many others at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital and Gloucester Internal Medicine who always did their best to help Joe.
Services will be held on Dec. 13, 2022 at 11 a.m. from the graveside at Christ Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 367, Eastville, where Joe worshipped as a child.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Christ Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 367, Eastville, Va. 23347 or SEVA Grreat Golden Retriever Rescue, P.O. Box 8014, Yorktown, Va. 23693.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at foxfuneralhomes.com.
Funeral arrangements by Fox Funeral Home on the Eastern Shore.