“Standing on the moon, with nothing else to do. A lovely view of heaven but I would rather be with you.”
Bradly James Downey, age 73, passed away on Monday, June 1, 2020. Brad lived a full, successful and happy life. He was born on May 19, 1947, to Eileen and Joseph Downey in Kirkland, Illinois. This is where he was raised to be an independent, stubborn, but loving, successful man. He graduated from high school in 1965. He then moved to Boulder, Colorado. It was there that he met his first wife, Susan. They were married in 1968. Brad and Susan brought his first son into the world, Brent Downey, on June 16, 1968, and his second son Brian Downey on May 21, 1972. Brad loved his sons very much and was proud of the men they have become.
Brad, being the entrepreneur he was, started a dry-cleaning business called Plaza Cleaners in the early ’70s. This, like most of the things he did, was a successful business but was sold shortly after his permanent move to Montana. In 1981, Brad headed to find his next adventure in Fort Smith as a fly-fishing guide. Brad then met the love of his life, Tricia Surwill, and they were married in 1986. Pursuing his passion and love of fly-fishing, Brad created what would be known as one of the first successful fly-fishing businesses in Fort Smith: Anglers Edge Outfitters. Brad and Tricia welcomed his first daughter, Samantha Downey, on Oct. 11, 1990, and, two years later, his youngest child, Nicole Downey, was born on July 3, 1992.
“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”
Brad appreciated the little things in life, like the hot sun, music (especially Grateful Dead), fantasy football with his sons, fly-fishing, spending time with his family, traveling to visit his many friends and taking a “puff.” He also took pride in his role as a “papa” to his five grandchildren, Brogan, Kelton, Jayden, Taya and Quinton (oldest to youngest). They helped keep his spirit young and brought his family closer than ever. Brad’s life was compounded by deep friendships formed since his college days in Boulder, Colorado, from his days owning his own dry-cleaning business in Broomfield, Colorado, to his days in Fort Smith working first as a guide to then owning his own business as an Outfitter. Many of these friendships formed from his guiding clientele and from his love of the music band The Grateful Dead.
Although Brad had his own plans of “ending it all” as an outlaw on the run from the law, tequila bottle in hand and the love of his life in the passenger seat, and they would ride off the Rims together — unfortunately, things do not always go as planned and Brad passed away peacefully with his family by his side and a bottle of Budweiser instead.
Dad, we will forever miss talking with you. We will even miss having to tell you twice because you couldn’t hear shit. We will miss laughing with you. We already do.
“Fare thee well, fare thee well, I love you more than words can tell. Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.”
Brad is survived by his life partner, Tricia; his children, Brent, Brian, Samantha and Nicole “Nikk”; his grandchildren, Brogan, Kelton, Jayden, Taya and Quinton; and his many close friends along with the Bighorn River.
The memorial service will be at 4:20 p.m. Saturday, June 13, in Fort Smith.