Cover photo for Selma Louise Downes's Obituary
Selma Louise Downes Profile Photo
1927 Selma 2022

Selma Louise Downes

October 23, 1927 — January 16, 2022

Selma Louise Downes (Louise), of Johnson City, Tennessee, passed away on January 16, 2022, at the age of 94. She almost made it to her goal of living to 100. She passed at Holston Valley Hospital where she received excellent care following a courageous battle with double pneumonia. She fought so hard, right to the very end. Louise lived a full life- one to remember- full of happiness that lasted until her final battle was over. Her family will strive to carry on her legacy.

God was very important in Louise’s life. She lived her life the way God wanted her to. She walked the walk! Louise was a lifelong member of First Christian Church of Johnson City. As a young mother, she taught Sunday School to young children. Many of them still remember how she inspired their love for Jesus. She organized and led a “Rhythm Band” for children. She sewed costumes for plays and helped direct the plays. She was a member of Women’s Prayer and Bible Study Groups for many years. She and her husband, Kenneth, were long-time members of the Mr. & Mrs. Sunday School Class where she continued after his death.

Louise was born Selma Louise Blevins in 1927 in Johnson City to Minnie and Wilburn Blevins. After having to quit school as a teenager to help support her family, Louise proudly completed her GED on September 21, 1995. She carried her card with her from that point on. Her work experience included working at Leggett’s Drug Store as a teenager. She met and married the love of her life, Ralph Kenneth Downes (Kenneth) on June 6, 1947, and started a family shortly thereafter. After her three children all started school, she went to work at Parks-Belk in downtown Johnson City. She worked there until Kenneth retired from the Post Office. Later, she worked at Chick-fil-A in the Johnson City Mall for over 30 years. She was affectionately known as “the Chick-fil-A Lady.” She retired from there at the age of 91. When one of the kids she worked with asked her the key to a healthy life, she said, “Drink the Coke and eat the sweets.” She enjoyed her sweets! Louise and Kenneth loved RV-ing with the family and friends. They took their children and grandchildren all over the United States. They participated in Senior Olympics/Games at the local, state, and national levels, and earned so many trophies and medals they ran out of room to display them.

Left to mourn her loss and celebrate her life include her son, Jim and wife Debbie; daughter, Diane; granddaughter, Jennifer; grandson, Jeremy and his wife Robin; great-grandsons, Steven Mekael Dugger (Mekael) and his wife Megan, Cody Dugger, Camden Downes, and Hudson Downes; great-great-granddaugthers, Mya Dugger, Liberty Dugger, and Mailey Dugger; son-in-law Richard Helton; and several nieces and nephews. Her husband, Kenneth Downes died in 2001, and her daughter, Cathy Helton died in 2007. Louise will be greatly missed by all, but what a joyous reunion in Heaven between her, Jesus, Kenneth, Cathy, and all her family and friends who have gone before her.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Louise’s honor to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Office of Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. You can also donate to either one online: (Shriners) or

A celebration of Louise’s life will be held on Monday, January 24, 2022, at Morris-Baker Funeral Home. The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 pm with a funeral beginning at 7:00 pm. The funeral will be livestreamed and available to view on the Morris-Baker website, under Selma’s obituary page, and it will be available to view for 90 days. Burial will be at 12:00 pm, on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at Monte Vista Memorial Park. Please meet at the cemetery by 11:50 am. As the COVID virus continues to spread, the family respectfully requests that those attending wear a mask.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at

Morris -Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E. Oakland Ave., Johnson City 423-282-1521 is serving the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Selma Louise Downes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, January 24, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Monday, January 24, 2022

Starts at 7:00 pm (Eastern time)


Click to watch

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Please meet at the cemetery by 11:50 am.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 5

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree