Dear Members,

With great sadness we are writing to let you know that the Museum’s friend and Board President General Lee Downer passed away on Sunday. We grieve with Susan, his family, and friends. 

Lee fought the brave fight with brain cancer for the most part of 2019. To use a battle analogy is not a trite platitude – Lee served his country from the day he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964 until retirement, when he was awarded the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. 

The Museum was honored with his leadership as President of the Board of Trustees far too briefly.  Lee loved the Museum and was excited about its future in the community.  Lee described in his own words his appreciation for those who support the Museum and his dreams for its future:

“We would be grounded, using an Air Force term, without your support.  With our eventual move into the ‘heart’ of town, we will need your continued support and encouragement to get the all-important, ‘Cleared for Take Off’ call.”


It goes without saying that the Board, staff, and membership of the Museum feels ‘grounded’ without him, but we will honor his memory by working toward his goal until we are, indeed, ‘cleared for take off.’


General Lee Downer will be buried at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  A local celebration of his extraordinary life will be announced at a later date.