He was born March 28, 1940 in Charlottesville, the son of Margie Downey Gowan.
James was a retired member of the US Airforce.
He was a member of the Noncommissioned Officer Association. He also loved to fish.
James is survived by his son: Jim Downey and wife Cindy of Stuarts Draft; 3 grandchildren: Steven Downey and wife Sarah of Craigsville, Chris Downey and wife Cynthia of Stuarts Draft, Joshua Downey of Stuarts Draft; honorary father: Fred Martin; and special friend: Carl White.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Johanna; and his step-father Bill Gowan.
A funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Friday, November 14, 2014 at Craigsville Funeral Home with Pastor Claude Williams officiating. Interment will be in Craigsville Community Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Jim Downey, Steven Downey, Chris Downey, Joshua Downey, Ryan Lilley, Anthony Stephenson. Honorary pallbearers will be Reginald Leavell, Carl White, and Carol Ann Jackson.
The family will receive friends one hour before the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to VFW of Staunton in lieu of flowers.