John F. Downing was born August 24, 1854, in Virginia,
Illinois, and lived there until the attainment of his majority.
He attended the public and high schools, and also took the classical
course at Illinois College, Jacksonville, from which institution he
was graduated in 1879.
Returning to Virginia, he entered the local
bank, but after three years came to Kansas City. His first
position was with the old Armour Bank, where he worked as a teller for
four years. In 1885, when the "boom" possessed Kansas
City, Mr. Downing went into the real estate business, and after the
"boom's" collapse in 1889, he organized the New England Safe
Deposit Trust Company, with A. W. Armour as president and
himself as vice-president. After a year he was elected
president, which position he still holds. In 1898 the New
England Safe Deposit Trust Company was converted into a National Bank.
Mr. Downing is a member of the Kansas City
Club and the Country Club. He has been twice married,
first wife having died in 1889. His present wife was Miss Jessie
Burnham, whom he married March 30, 1889. He is the father of
three children, two boys and a girl.