Lt. Jim Downing’s family remembers him as a family man before the fame

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The southern Colorado community honored a hero on Friday at Navy Lt. Jim Downing’s public visitation. Downing, who was the second-oldest survivor of Pearl Harbor, died this week at 104 years old. 

He was a Navigator in the Christian ministry, an author, and a dedicated member of the community. 

“He meant so much to so many people,” Alison Mitisek, one of Downing’s granddaughters, said.

Downing’s loved ones said above all else he was a family man.

“We thought he was a great dad,” his son David said. “Apart from being well-known for other reasons.”

“Without the dad I had, I probably would not have the value system that I have today,” his son Jonathan said.

The things he taught his children and grandchildren are what will stick with them forever.

He told David, “Maximize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and don’t compare yourself to other people.”

Jonathan recalled his dad saying, “Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it.” 

Alison will always remember her grandfather’s “perseverance through hard times.”

“It’s just really awesome, seeing what an impact he’s had on so many people all over the world,” another of Jim’s granddaughters, Andrea Barber, said.

“I feel so privileged that he got to be a part of my life for so long,” Alison said. 

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