Chad Downs, 43, of Spearfish formerly of Fort Pierre passed away on Thursday, March 11, at his parent’s home in Fort Pierre surrounded by his family after a courageous battle with Esophageal Cancer.
Chad graduated from Stanley County High School in 1996. While attending the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for Civil Engineering, he met his wife and soulmate Sonia Trautmann. They were married in the Spearfish City Park on November 7, 2009.
He worked as a Civil Engineer at the SD Department of Transportation and the SD Department of Game, Fish, & Parks in Pierre, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs in Fort Meade. Chad landed his dream job as a Project Engineer at the US Forest Service in Spearfish in 2019.
Chad was the most kind and compassionate person anyone would ever meet. His free-
spirited personality and infectious smile brought joy to so many lives. His strength, determination, and work-ethic were unmatched and he was always willing to help others when they needed it. Chad had such a kind soul and huge heart that drew people to him. He made everyone he met a better person by the way he lived his life. Chad loved music and one of his favorite bands was the Dave Matthews Band. The lyrics from Chad’s favorite DMB song Two Step said it best … life is short but
sweet for certain.
Chad and Sonia moved to Spearfish in 2018 so they could live in the beautiful Black
Hills and enjoy all the outdoor activities anytime they wanted to. Chad loved snowboarding, splitboarding, mountain biking, hiking with the pups, and exploring new trails, ski resorts, National Parks, forests, breweries, and restaurants. Chad loved fishing on Lake Oahe and hunting doves and pheasants with his favorite pups Emma and Ellie. Chad and Sonia’s love for the outdoors and adventures took them to many beautiful places, with their favorite being Glacier National Park.
Chad cherished the time he spent with his family watching football, going to the snowmobile races and snowmobiling, hiking local trails, hanging out at Mountain Meadows, tubing down Sand Creek, and just spending time together during the holidays. He was such a supportive and incredible brother who was always there to Listen.
Chad loved the Miami Dolphins football team ever since Dan Marino started playing for them in 1984. He endured a lot of tough years as a Miami Dolphins fan, but every year he would say things looked promising. He was very active in several Fantasy Football Leagues with his brothers and friends and took pride in being one of the most organized League Commissioners.
Chad is survived by his wife Sonia Downs and favorite pups Emma and Ellie (Spearfish, SD), Parents Dan & Barb Downs (Fort Pierre, SD), Brother Shaun (Jenny) Downs and Niece Kassy (Laramie, WY), Brother Jason (Lacey) Downs (Pierre, SD), Niece Kenzie (Joey) Nicoterra and Great-Niece Paisley (Rock Springs, WY), Nephew Tane Downs and Great-Niece Caitlyn (Laramie, WY), Father and Mother-in-Law Larry and Renee Trautman (Lemmon, SD), Sister-in Law Shane (Chad) Kramer and Nieces Sydnee and Savanna (Sioux Falls, SD), Sister-in-Law Sara (Josh) Weier (Windsor, CO), and several grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Chad was preceded in death by his Maternal Grandfather, Paternal Grandfather, Aunts
Darci, Jack, and Janie, Uncle Mike, and Step-Grandfather Ed.
There will be a celebration gathering in honor of Chad’s life on Wednesday, March 17th, at the Pat Duffy Community & Youth Involved Center in Fort Pierre from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. All friends and family are invited to attend this celebration to share memories and celebrate Chad’s amazing life. This will be a casual celebration and attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite sports team attire. The family requests those attending the celebration to wear masks to provide a safe gathering for all attendees. In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund will be set-up and the funds will be donated to Esophageal Cancer Research and the Western Hills Humane Society.