Juel Meredith Downs Chappell died peacefully October 3, 2014. Ms. Juel was born December 5, 1919 to James Monroe Meredith and Pearl Jane Hearne Meredith in Grayson, LA.
After graduating from Chatham High School she completed her education at Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1939.
She was preceded in death by devoted husbands Woodrow Alexander Downs and Dr. William Chappell; Father, James Monroe Meredith; Mother, Pearl Jane Meredith Chatham and Stepfather, Charles Chatham. She was also predeceased by her brother, Robert Meredith; sister, Donna Meredith Moore; infant brother, James Meredith and her grandson, Ross Alexander Lynn.
She is survived by her son, Robert Downs and his wife Susan of Houston, TX; son, Hollis Downs and his wife Cathy of Ruston, LA; daughter, Jane Watts and her husband Tucker of Ruston, LA; step-daughter, Nancy Oviatt and husband Steve of Catharpin, VA; and step-son, William Chappell lll of Pearisburg, VA.
She is also survived by her grandchildren, Scott Downs of Dallas, TX; Kathy Hernandez and her husband Alian of Houston, TX; Chanon Whitman and her husband Scott of Shreveport, LA; Holly Carney and her husband Steve of Bossier City, LA; Newt Lynn and his wife Kristy of Shreveport, LA; Lesley Lynn Johnson and her husband Jeremy of Bryan, TX; Eileen Oviatt, Alexandria, VA; Lauren Oviatt and her husband Matt Skillman of Ellicot City, MD; Ross Chappell of Blacksburg, VA and Jamie Chappell of San Francisco, CA and her great grandchildren, Hollis Carney, Abby Carney & Katie Carney of Bossier City, LA; Emma Kate Whitman & William Whitman of Shreveport, LA; Clementine Harper Lynn of Shreveport, LA; Matilda Rose Johnson of Bryan, TX; Aidan Hernandez of Houston, TX; and Ginevra Skillman and Edward Skillman of Ellicot City, MD.
Juel’s life of service included 25 years with the Department of Social Services, over 50 years with the American Legion Boys & Girls State of Louisiana, the forming of the first Girl Scout troop in Farmerville and continued scouting membership for over 60 years. She was active at the Farmerville UMC in virtually all aspects of the church before moving to Ruston late in life where she came to love her time at Trinity UMC. As a Pink Lady at the Union General Hospital in Farmerville she invested decades of service to the hospital, its staff and its patients. As a professional social worker she went far beyond the required to help numerous families and their children rise from poverty and obtain a better life. She loved living on Lake D’Arbonne and worked hard to promote it to others.
Many awards and accolades came her way throughout her life, but one, perhaps represents the whole of her life of as a life of service. She was the 1st to receive the Torch Award in Louisiana, a service award given nationally by the General Church of the United Methodist Church. She was the 19th recipient in the nation.
In all her tireless work both professionally and voluntarily for others Juel tended her own soul in her garden. Her yard and flowers were the signature thread that wound throughout her life each day. A visit to her home would often include a walk in the yard where stories would unfold, and it was difficult to leave without something dug from her garden to plant in yours.
Isn’t that the way of a life of service…here, let me share with you what I have, now plant it and as it multiplies, share it with others. That was Juel.
Should you desire, flowers may be sent to either church where the services will be held; Trinity UMC in Ruston, LA or Farmerville UMC in Farmerville, LA. The services are under the direction of Kilpatrick in Ruston, LA.
You are invited to consider giving memorials to the following or the charity of your choice:
The Ross Alexander Lynn Foundation, a foundation in memory of Juel’s grandson, supporting continued service and opportunities for the greater good, P.O. Box 905, Ruston, LA 71273
The LSU Foundation for Woodrow A. Downs, Juel Meredith Downs Chappell and Dr. William E. Chappell Union Parish 4-H Youth Endowment Fund, 3838 W Lakeshore Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
The Louisiana Tech Foundation, P.O. Box 3183 TS, Ruston, LA 71272
Farmerville UMC, 301 Anthony Street, Farmerville, LA 71241
Trinity UMC, 1000 Woodward Ave., Ruston, LA 71270
Visitation will be held at 1:00 pm at Trinity UMC in Ruston, LA Sunday, October 5, 2014, with a memorial service to follow at 2:00 pm at Trinity. These will be followed by a service of visitation and time of remembrance in the fellowship hall at Farmerville UMC in Farmerville, LA at 4:00 pm under the direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home of Ruston, LA.