Steve Downey

Rest In Peace

June 30, 1952 - November 15, 2021

With very heavy hearts, we report that Stephen Downey, age 69, died peacefully on November 15th at his home in Wichita, KS after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Steve was born June 30, 1952 to James and Shirley Downey. He attended Wichita North High School. Steve made a successful career out of his passion for music and entertaining that spanned over 50 years.

He was happily married to his wife, Dee, the love of his life and partner for over 30 years.

Steve is survived by: his wife, daughters Kelsi Kay and Jenny Collier, son-in-law Court Collier, son Ben Ragan, grandchildren Hudson, Ella, and Ollie, In-laws Bob and Wilma Cashion, Siblings Pat Addis and Jim Downey, Brothers and sisters in law Mike and Becci Cashion and Jeff and Sheryl Cashion, as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.

Steve was known for his witty personality and sense of humor. He had a joke for absolutely every occasion. He was known for bringing joy to others whether it be through music, jokes, or his generosity. He had a keen sense of knowing when others needed help and never hesitated to go the extra mile.

Outside of spending time with his friends and family he enjoyed gardening, baking, movies, and books. And never met an animal that he didn’t befriend.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Shirley Downey, stepchildren Nathan and Nisha Bohannan, sister Kay Outhier, brothers-in-law Alvin Addis, Lou Rumpeltes, George Outhier and Marc Gottschalk, and nephews Mike Rumpeltes and David Addis.

Guitarist and lead vocalist, Steve started his musical career around the age of five when his sisters would hang a toy guitar around his neck, play Elvis on the mono record player and laugh and clap as young Downey did the hip swivel and lip synced.

Oh that sound of applause! But like millions of musicians, the defining moment came for Steve on those two famous Sunday nights when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. Life would never be the same.

From that point on it was live and breathe rock and roll.

Learning the craft in his basement

14-year-old Steve (right)

After a series of guitars, “often strewn across my chest in bed as I would practice every night and fall asleep with the guitar in my hands”, Steve became self-taught and a rapid learner.

Soon there was a procession of bands including: The Heard, The New Destinations, Axis, The Bishops, Family Circle, The Board of Regents, Legion, Hard Road, The Wee Three Trio, Steve Downey and Partners in Crime, Lotus, and The Crawdaddies.

“I have had the blessing of playing with so many great musicians around the Wichita area and have developed some life long friendships to treasure.”

Bryan and Steve with an array of guitars, including a double-neck that featured both 6-string and 12-string necks.

Bryan and Steve, rockin' the house!

Steve has had a successful solo career that has spanned nearly 30 years. He was considered the house entertainer at the old Canterbury Inn for over 20 consecutive years and still performs in Wichita and around Kansas.

“The guys in Legion are still my best friends and I consider that band to be ahead of it’s time in so many ways. I still laugh about the funny things that happened, dream about the Casino and the songs, and remain proud of what terrific men those guys turned out to be.”

Steve and Dee Downey
Steve and Dee Downey (and anonymous admirer in the background)
Steve Downey
Steve Downey playing guitar in front of purple door
Steve's girls, Kelsi and Jenn
Steve's daughters, Jenny Collier and Kelsi Downey
Hudson and Ella CollierBeautiful Grandchildren
Steve with Tommy Emmanuel
Steve Downey and Tommy Emmanuel chillin' at the Orpheum after a concert in 2007