Keith E. Downey, 63

Published 8:37 am Friday, June 28, 2019

Keith E. Downey, 63

Keith E. Downey, 63, of Austin, Minnesota, passed away unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.

Keith Elmer Downey was born May 18, 1956, to Thomas D. (Mike) and Evelyn J. (Kolb) Downey in Austin. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Austin.

Keith attended parochial and public schools in Austin, graduating from Pacelli High School in 1974. He furthered his education gradually and graduated from Austin Community College in 1986 with an Associate in Arts. He then went on to Winona State University, completing his degree in social work in 1990. On June 14, 1975, he married Eunice L. Koepsell at Grace Lutheran Church. Keith and Eunice were not blessed with their own children, so in 1981, they became foster parents through Woodvale Family Services and later Mower County DHS. Over a period of 25 years, they cared for Jason, who was the first foster child taken in by Keith and Eunice. Jason remained with Keith for seven years following Eunice’s death. For approximately seven years, a second foster child was taken in, Matthew, who eventually went to a group home. Eunice preceded Keith in death in 2006 after 31 years of marriage. On Aug. 30, 2014, Keith married Victor Rubino.

Email newsletter signup

During his youth, Keith and his family were members of St. Edward and St. Augustine Catholic parishes. In the early 70’, Keith joined the youth group at Queen of Angels parish. He remained a member of Queens until 1982. In 1977, Keith started a special education religion class at Queens. The class grew and continued over a four-year period of time. Through this class, 11 individuals with special needs received their first communion and were confirmed.

Keith was employed through the years by a number of human service facilities. He started in 1975 at Oak Grove DAC, then in 1979, he went to work for Woodvale Homes. He was later employed by Rathjen House in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Following his graduation from Winona State University, he was employed by Alpha Enterprises (which merged with Cedar Valley Services in 1993) and worked for Cedar Valley Services as a vocational Counselor until December 2015.

In 1985, Keith and Eunice joined St. OIaf Lutheran Church. Keith was active in the church, teaching Sunday school and confirmation. He also served as a Stephen Minister, Social Concerns Chairman, and on the Board of Deacons. During his time on the Board of Deacons and Social Concerns committee, he was instrumental in organizing a workshop entitled “Being a Caregiver to Individuals with AIDS.”

In 2010, Keith joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, where he served on the Board of Trustees and Church Council from 2013-2016. Keith was active with the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) for approximately 20 years. He served as president and on the Board of Directors. He received the Volunteer of the Year award on the local and state level for his work in 1984. He also volunteered for the Victims Crisis Center in Mower County, receiving the Volunteer of the Year award for the years of 1982-1983. As a result of the workshop on AIDS that Keith organized, the organization “Rural AIDS Action Network” (RAAN) was developed. The organization was in existence for approximately four years. During the years RAAN existed, there was a major fundraising event; World AIDS Day observances were held at participating churches (Dec. 1) for several years and there was support given to seven families in the Mower County area prior to and following the death of their loved ones due to AIDS. Keith had been a professional member of the Ecumenical Order of Franciscans since 2015.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Eunice; his parents, T.D. (Mike) and Evelyn Downey; stepmother, Margaret; nephew, Jeffrey Soiney; and niece, Luann Allen. Keith is survived by his spouse, Victor Rubino; brothers, Kenny Downey, New Richmond, Wisconsin, and Kim (Sue) Downey, Austin; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Luella and Robert Soiney, Austin; nephews, Jesse (Nena) Downey, White Bear Lake, Minnesota, Casey (Alison) Downey, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Nathan Downey, Austin, Nicholas (Leanne) Downey, Austin, and their daughter, Stella; and nieces, Amy (Tony) Muehlstedt, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Michelle Ahles, Austin.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church with the Rev. Dr. Joy K. Bussert officiating. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, July 1, 2019, at Clasen-Jordan Mortuary and will continue for one hour prior to services on Tuesday at the church. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Austin.