Rifleman Clayton Edward Downes
“Have I ever told you about the time when…”
The moment those words were spoken, you knew you were in for the tale of a lifetime. The man behind the stories is even larger than the tales he told. Everywhere you go with Clay, he knows someone, knows everyone, or would know everyone by the end of the day. He always enraptured his audience with his life stories. ‘That’s the vaudeville gene’, he reminds us. But draw back the showman’s curtain, and you will find a man who loved deeply, and showed it through his service and kindness to everyone around him.
Born and raised in Toronto, Clay joined the Canadian Army at 18 and was honoured to serve with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, 1st Battalion. He completed basic training at Currie Barracks in Calgary, and went on to serve in Germany. Since that time he was an active member of the Georgetown Legion, branch 120.
Clay moved his young family to Georgetown in 1984, when he helped found Krown Rust Control, remaining a partner in the local shop until his retirement. He spent countless hours volunteering his time in town with the Optimist Club and Salvation Army Church to name only a few.
At home, Clay loved his family above all. His greatest achievements in life were his wife and children, and he would tell that to anyone who would listen. He was always there when you needed him most, and doubly when you didn’t. His greatest life lessons will never be forgotten: his humility “You should thank me for giving you the best Mother”, his courtesy: “Don’t forget to offer our guest a drink, oh… now that you’re up, I’ll have one too” and his craftsmanship: “A blind man would be glad to see that!”
Your curtain may have fallen, but you leave behind a legacy that will be shared throughout the ages.
Clay with his wife Nancy were also active volunteers for The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum in 2012 and 2013.