Janice Gaynell Crossett Downing Bates was born in Waurika, OK in 1910, but lived in Caddo most of her life. Her father, G.A. Crossett was Caddo’s famous newspaper editor. Janice married Roy Downing and ran the Downing Café in downtown Caddo. My thanks to her daughter for sending me these wonderful photos and newspaper clippings about her mom.
Denison Herald, February 2, 1942
Caddo Woman Has Photos of Boys in U.S. Service
"Caddo- Mrs. Roy Downing, who operates a café here, has started an interesting feature. Men from Caddo who are members of the armed forces of the United States have their pictures at the café. For a number of years the younger boys and girls have made the café downtown headquarters.
When the younger boys started off for duty with the army, navy and marines, Mrs. Downing conceived the idea of placing their photos on a large blackboard designed by Mr. Downing.
With the younger boys and girls coming into the café often, Mrs. Downing has become a mother friend to the boys in service. When the soldiers are home on leave they make the café headquarters, often leaving their money, jewels, or traveling bags with her. Many times she has paid the soldiers expenses back to camp, but has always had the money returned.
Every day she receives a letter from some of the boys and each one is answered with the same fervor as that of a real mother. Among those whose pictures are on the blackboard are James Goddard, Pleas Whisenhunt, and Alfred Barkeley (?), Camp Barkeley; Prince Flowers, Camp Wolters; Jesse Maytubby, Phoenix, Ariz.; J.E. Brittlinger and A.C. Strickler, Portland, Ore.; William Peters, Fort Sill; Clarence E. Smith and Robert Freeney, Pearl Harbor; R.A. Whisenhunt with the AEF in Ireland; A.E. Boydstun, Jr., San Francisco, Cal."
One Woman USO Gets
Many Appreciation Letters
"Since the story appeared 11 days ago about the work Mrs. Roy Downing is doing for the boys in service: writing letters and doing other things for the morale of the boys in service, she has received many letters and calls from the parents of the boys expressing appreciation of the noble work she is doing.
The soldiers tell in letters of how those chatty letters cheer them as nothing else can. It is a thing other women could do if they but would put themselves to the task.
Mrs. Downing is one of the busiest women in town, being on her job 16 hours a day, yet she takes time to take time out to cheer the boys who are on the firing line protecting her and hers from the conquerors."