On January 25, 2021 at 6:00 AM, the soul of Bernard “Larry” Downing, Sr. was carried off by God’s angels from his home in Hamilton, New Jersey. He is now peacefully resting with the Lord. He was born October 12, 1947 to the late Lorenzo and Daisy Downing in Assawoman, Virginia.
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“Larry” was educated in Accomack County Public Schools. At an early age, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War. “Larry” graduated with honors from communication Training School and became the communication specialist for his company.
Larry and Odessa were joined together in holy matrimony on May 27, 1967. To this union three children were born.
“Larry” tried his hand at several jobs. He attended the skill center, became a Certified Mechanic, and was one of the first African Americans to work as a mechanic for the Public Service Gas and Electric Company. His love for trucking surpassed anything else. With pride, he always referred to himself as a “Professional Truck Driver.” His last employment as a truck driver was with Marriott Distribution Service located in Dayton, New Jersey for twenty-five years. He also, along with his wife, owned and operated B & O restaurant in Trenton, New Jersey. Upon his retirement, he and his wife owned a tour bus company, Supreme Travel.
“Larry” was a faithful and devoted member of New Horizon Baptist Church in Hamilton Township, Graveville, New Jersey. He served on the Church Council, Men’s Ministry, and Pastor’s Aide. He was never hesitant to testify how much he loved the Lord and of the love he had for his church family. He was always willing to help in whatever capacity he was needed. At church, he was known as a stylish dresser and for modeling men’s hats in the hat show.
“Larry” truly loved his family. He will be missed as a husband, father, “PopPop,”uncle, and brother. He always had many stories to tell and advice to give at family gatherings. He was truly a gift given to us by God, who kept on giving. His memory will be cherished forever.
“Larry” was preceded in death by his son, Andre Downing; sisters, Muriel Hope and Vivian Downing; and brothers, Lorenzo Downing and Albert Downing.
“Larry” leaves to cherish his loving memories: his wife, Odessa Downing; children, Bernard Larry Downing, Jr., Equai (Jennifer) Downing, Kyle (Taylor) Downing-Spady, and Shawn Hedgepeth; seven grandchildren, Savanah Ishemal, Ariyon Downing, Jessica Downing, Equai Downing, Jr., Julia Downing, Kyle Downing-Spady, Jr., and Tayah Drew Downing-Spady; two sisters, Betty Downing and Dorothy Harmon; uncle, James Marshall; brother-in-law, Rev. Gary (Tampa) Miller; godson, Bryce Johnson; dear friend, Cleveland Johnson; and a host of other relatives and special friends.