Sybil obit photoDear Valued Readers

John’s mother, Mary Sybil Rose Downs, recently passed away at the age of 93. She was an incredible lady who worked tirelessly on John’s behalf.

Mary Sybil Rose Downs, 93, died Tuesday, June 21, 2016 after a brief illness, surrounded by the family she adored. Born in Weleetka Oklahoma, January 21, 1923, she resided in Northwest Arkansas much of her life.

Sybil was the daughter of Junius Wilse Rose and Zona Ella Pate Rose of Big Flat, Arkansas, the second of nine wonderful siblings. She married John W. Downs of Waco Texas in 1955, after serving in the WWII Navy WAVES and attending Oklahoma University. Devoted mother of three children, grandmother of five, and great grandmother of two precious boys.

Survivors include two children, John Wesley Downs of Doha, Qatar, Julie (John) Van Woy of Holiday Island, Arkansas. Grandchildren, Jennie (Juan) Bautista, Nicholas (Brittany) Downs, Margaret Downs, Thomas (Erica) Downs, and John Henry Van Woy. Great grandchildren, Julian William Bautista and Wesley Myers Downs. Surviving siblings, Junior (Janell) Rose and Patricia Rose Masters. A very long list of extended Rose and Van Woy family too numerous to list but equally important and cherished.

Sybil was preceded in death by her youngest child, Phillip Downs, parents, husband, siblings: Kathleen (Joe) Benton, Judy (Hank) Tankersley, Sandra Deming, Tommy (Jo) Rose, Bill Rose, James Rose, and baby Teddy. Also precious Nancy Downs, daughter-in-law.

Services will be Saturday June 25, 10am at Rogers Cemetery, 510 South 10th St. Sybil will be placed to rest sharing the grave of her precious youngest child Phillip. All family and friends are welcome to share this event and join together for lunch after.

Sybil will be remembered for contributing 93 years of waking each morning with a smile, a kind word, and an amazing sense of humor. From her first hitchhiking adventure across the country with younger sister, Judy, from Tulsa to Washington DC at the age of 19, to traveling alone to Doha, Qatar twice in her 80’s, a trip to Mexico at 90, she was a well traveled lover of the world and its people. A passionate democrat, she studied and debated anybody with a voice (particularly son-in-law John Van Woy).  “I love Elvis, Jesus, and Obama.” Past 10 years were spent advocating and fighting for the release of her first born son imprisoned for life in Qatar. Not for a moment did she doubt his release one day. Recently finishing an autobiography, Sybil wasted not a minute of her amazing life. We love her dearly.

Memorial donations may be made to NPR  National Public Radio and PBS Public Broadcasting Service.



John W Downs was born in San Antonio Texas in 1955. He attended school in Rogers AR eventually graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1978 with an undergraduate degree in Physics and with his graduate degree in Geology in 1983.

After establishing himself in the oil business John moved his family to Qatar in 1996 and thus began a journey that would forever change his life and those he loved.

John was arrested in 2005 for espionage working in Qatar for Qatar Petroleum. After a questionable trial, where the proceedings were conducted in Arabic, John W Downs was given a life sentence. With subsequent appellate proceedings, which only highlighted the corrupt judicial system in Qatar, John currently resides in the Qatari Central Jail outside of Doha and fills his days with scholarly endeavors; writing, reading and learning languages.

The following pages are filled with his musings. John refers to them as his Blog, thus we feel obliged to offer them as he wishes. With brilliant insight, John delivers a story rich in reflection and observation that at times are cynical but taken in its entirety offers a stunning insight into one of the most powerful countries in the world while capturing the essence of its hegemony accompanied by collusion, greed and corruption from contributing governments and corporations that make it all possible.

We hope you enjoy this journey and welcome your comments.

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