DEXTER – Herbert "Bobby" James Downing, 92, died July 6, 2012, at Brewer Rehabilitation Center. He was born Jan. 12, 1920, in a farmhouse in Harmony, the third of three sons born to Bert and Florence (Downing) Folsom. His mother died in childbirth. Bobby was adopted by and lived with his birth mother’s brother, Herbert Downing and his wife, Martha "Phyllis" Downing, in Dexter.
Bobby’s eyesight was very weak from birth. That, along with other problems, prevented success in school. His adoptive mother, Phyllis, taught him the alphabet, the numbers up to 100, and how to make change. He is best known in Dexter and eight surrounding towns for riding his bicycle and selling cards and other items out of a box he carried in a basket on his bike. He also continued to mow lawns, rake leaves, and cut and stack wood. In the winter, Bobby would continue to sell in Dexter and would also walk to Ripley and back to sell his wares. His yard work in the winter consisted of shoveling snow and sawing and stacking firewood. Bobby lived with Bill and Kathy Gordon in Corinna for several years before he moved to Emilio Estates, Corinth. He spent his final years there, beloved by staff and residents. He was a faithful member of Dexter Methodist Church and later Christian Community Church, Dexter, for as long as he could physically attend services.
Bobby is survived by his sister-in-law, Beverly Folsom of Harmony; nephews, Waynard Folsom of St. Petersburg, Fla., Robert Folsom and Michael Folsom of Cambridge and Scott Folsom of Harmony; and nieces, Florence Gosbee of Windham, N.H., Candace Baur of Philadelphia, Raye McGinley of Harmony, Gail McKenney of Skowhegan and Nonie Williams of Weston.
Graveside services will be held 10 a.m. Thursday, July 12, at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Dexter, with Pastor Lois Field officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bobby’s memory may be made to Christian Community Church, care of Lois Field, 82 Grove St., Dexter, ME 04930. Arrangements are by Crosby & Neal, Dexter. For an online guest register, go to