Paul A. Downs

Paul A. Downs

Paul A. Downs, age 59, of Dubuque, was called Home peacefully in his sleep on July 15, 2019, at home. He is now more alive than he has ever been. To celebrate Paul’s life, funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at Dubuque Community Church, 3490 Keystone Drive, with Pastors Dennis Schmitt and Steve Downs officiating. In celebration of his life, family and friends may visit from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on Friday, July 19, 2019, in “Joy’s Corral” at their home, 2165 Rockdale Road, Dubuque, where there will be a prayer service held at 7:00 p.m. Burial will be in St. Francis Cemetery, Balltown, at a later date.

Paul was born on October 1, 1959, in Dubuque, son of William and Ruth E. (Hamiel) Downs.

He was raised on the family farm near Balltown and attended Sageville School, Jefferson Junior High and graduated from Hempstead High School in Dubuque in 1977. Paul worked on the farm until he married the love of his life, Renee T. Scherf, on June 30, 1984 on Echo Mountain at the farm. Upon moving to Dubuque, Paul and some friends opened The Narrow Gate at 1654 Central Avenue. It offered the Dubuque community a relaxed atmosphere with coffee, music and Christian fellowship. Paul’s talents and interests were diverse. He and Renee opened Mississippi Fats Ice Cream Shop and a couple other short-term restaurants. Paul was a furniture restorer, antique shop owner and later began 17th Street Pawn, which they ran for over 25 years. He enjoyed old cars, antiquated machinery, guns, “garage saling” and movies. Paul delighted in spending time outdoors riding horses, fishing or mushroom hunting. He was a trivia buff, storyteller and a prodigious reader. Paul was a very talented writer who would often exercise his poetic license to the fullest. For many years, he was known as the “Muffin Man” as he flaunted his culinary proclivities. Most of all, Paul was a very soft-hearted and selfless man who loved people. He and Renee would regularly offer food and shelter to those who needed it. Paul left a legacy of giving to all who knew him.

Those left to cherish Paul’s memory include

his wife,
Renee Downs, Dubuque, IA;

his children,
Daniel (Miranda) Downs, Dubuque,
Tommy Downs, Dubuque,
Harmony (Reece) Morgan, Balltown, IA,
Bonnie Downs, Dubuque,
Joy (Jake) Hopper, Balltown, IA,
Willie Downs, Dubuque,
Gracie Downs, Dubuque,
Faith Downs, Dubuque
and Andrew Downs, Dubuque;

his granddaughter,
Hope Morgan;

his father,
Bill Downs, Dubuque, IA;

and his brother,
Steve (Debbie) Downs, Spokane, WA.

Paul was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth Downs; and his daughter, Melody Downs.

View local florists here.


“Joy’s Corral” at their home,
2165 Rockdale Road, Dubuque, IA 52003
July 19th, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM


Dubuque Community Church
3490 Keystone Drive, Dubuque, IA 52002
July 20th, 2019 at 10:30 AM

13 condolences for Paul A. Downs
  1. Robin (Radetzki) Ignatowicz says:

    Kim and I spent many hours with Paul at the Narrow Gate when we were in high school. Paul was a wonderful friend and a deeply good man. My condolences to Renee and family. My heart is with you. Praying that memories of him will bring you peace.

  2. Sandra Plumley says:

    I am currently out of town and was shocked to learn of Paul’s. I am keeping Renee and their family in my prayers. Paul has helped so many people in Dubuque,he will be missed by hundreds. Fly with the Angels Paul.You were truly one of them.

  3. Diana (Fitzy) Sheahan says:

    Paul was a good friend with a big heart. I had just moved to town in 1981 and Paul and others took me in and befriended me. Together we started the Narrow Gate Coffeehouse. Those are some of my best memories of tight friendships. My thoughts and prayers go to you Renee, and kids. I will continue to hold you up in prayer.

  4. Jane Datisman says:

    The Downs family and my family have been friends for years. We grew up as kids together. I was so surprised to hear that Paul had passed away. My condolence and sympathy go out to Renee and their children, and also to the rest of the Downs family. Paul will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  5. Brian Massman says:

    Paul lived his life as a giver. A man with a soft heart to all and especially “the down and out” Paul loved to provide food for people that needed it and never turned people away. He will be missed and will be welcomed into his heavenly home where he will never see need again.

  6. Sharon D Brown says:

    Paul helped my family many times, he was a good person.

  7. Susan Fillmore says:

    Dearest Renee,
    I am very sorry to hear of loss of your husband Paul. You will be in my prayers Renee…You are a beautiful person inside and out. I have no doubt that your faith will keep you strong through this temporary storm of life. God walks with you in this time when you feel most alone and lost.

  8. Terry (the pope) Lenstra says:

    We were close, we grew apart.
    Still as time passed by you had a place in my heart.
    Memories of days in our youth still speak to me,
    they still prove,
    I’ll never forget.
    The last time I saw you I said “see you later”…not goodbye
    Here I am and
    Rest now good and faithful servant
    my dear old friend

  9. Phillip Hansen says:

    I am sorry for your loss Downs Family. I am sorry I am out of town otherwise I would be at the services. Paul was a good guy. Love from the Phillip and Heather Hansen.

  10. Linda Smith says:

    I remember watching trinity movies all summer, playing euchre into the night, and trying to touch hearts at The Narrow Gate. It’s been many years, but I still remember Paul and how much he cared about others. He made a difference. Sending light and love to Rene and the kids.

  11. Anastasia Dubbels says:

    My family was continuously blessed by Paul and his family while I was growing up. I was completely shocked when I heard he was gone! I’m so sorry Renee (and kids)! I have tears for you, but also a sense of peace that we will see him again. Love to you all during this difficult time 💜

  12. Kathy (Smith) Connolly says:

    I have such good memories of spending time with Paul at the Narrow Gate. He was a good man and has helped and was a blessing to so many. My thoughts and prayers are with you Renee and family.

  13. Mary says:

    Paul loved his sweet Renee, children and family – and Scripture. He shared his life and love without reservation, and I remember his selfless service to the KING of kings from years ago…He will be sadly missed but heaven rejoices. Condolences to Renee and family…

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