Check out the excerpt from Tampa Bay Times about a question many of us have asked. Who is Bruce B. Downs?
One of Wesley Chapel’s main roadways in named after him but few now who he is.
TAMPABAY.COM – Bruce Barkley Downs was a man who loved roads, wrote Times writer Emily Nipps in a 2007 profile. Downs spent nearly three decades with the Florida Transportation Department before working as Hillsborough County’s deputy public works administrator.
In 1983, a newspaper article called his job one of the most stressful in the county. The next day, he collapsed at a restaurant. He was just 53 when he died from the massive heart attack.
Downs was a beloved and respected man, known for his directness and professionalism. More than 500 came to his funeral. He was survived by Patsy Downs, his high school sweetheart, as well as his children, Luanna Sheridan and Bruce Barkley Downs Jr. He also had two grandsons, Bruce Barkley Downs III and Justin Sheridan (who went on to live off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard during his time at USF).
Three years after his death, the county renamed 30th Street in his honor. Thousands still drive down the road every day.
Patsy recalled her husband’s remarkable photographic memory and ability to remember names and faces after just one meeting. She told the Times that her husband would have felt shocked to know about the road being named after him.
“He would have felt so humble.”