ITS HISTORY AND TRADITION
W. J. DOWNEY
William J. Downey, one of the successful and enterprising members of the
Sioux City Live Stock Exchange, is a member of the well-known firm of Rice
Brothers & Company. His career since coming to this city has been characterized
by persistent and well-directed effort and the splendid prosperity which has
come to him has been well merited. Born near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the
13th of February, 1877, he is a son of William and Margaret (Weldon) Downey.
His father was a native of Ireland, whence he came to Canada as a young man
in his teens. He was employed several years as a farm hand and later
engaged in farming on his own account. Subsequently he engaged in the hotel
business at Erindale, Ontario, which commanded his attention to the time of his
death, which occurred in 1892, at the age of forty-four years. Mrs. Margaret
Downey died when her son William was but two years old and his father was later married to Miss Alice Curtis, who is still living.
William J. Downey was educated in the public schools of Erindale and then
took a commercial course in Well's Business College, graduating in bookkeeping.
He then obtained a position in the office of one of the largest law firms
in Toronto. Here his salary was small, but the experience he gained was
valuable and had a great bearing on his future business success. Later he was
made manager for a firm of cigar importers in Toronto and in 1898 he went with
his stepmother to Omaha, Nebraska, to visit the World's exposition. From
there he came on to Sioux City, which made a favorable impression on him and he determined to stop here. On September 15, 1898, he began work in the Sioux City stock yards as assistant bookkeeper and stenographer for Becker & Degen, live stock brokers, with which firm he remained about six months. He then went to work for the live stock firm of Ryan, Smith & Lacy, which was later succeeded by the Sioux City Live Stock Commission Company, and whose business was in turn taken over in 1904 by the firm of Rice Brothers. Mr. Downey remained with this firm as manager for about ten years and was then made a member of the firm and placed in charge of the cattle department, in which capacity he is now serving. Mr. Downey served three years as president of the Sioux City Live Stock Exchange, as vice-president for two years and for the past eight years as a member of the board of directors. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Interstate Fair, which is held annually in Sioux City.
On October 4, 1904, Mr. Downey was united in marriage to Miss Grace Coleman, of Sioux City, who died September 30, 1908,leaving a son,James Melvin. The son is an accomplished musician, and is also a well-known golf player having played in state tournaments from the time he was fifteen years of age. Mr. Downey is a member of Sioux City Lodge, No. 112, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, of the Knights of Columbus and of the Catholic Order of Foresters.
He also belongs to the Sioux City Country Club and the Riverside Boat Club. He is a communicant of the Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic church. Personally he is friendly and cordial in his social relations is widely known through-
out this city and enjoys to a marked degree the respect of his business associates and the esteem of all who know him.
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