College Mourns the Passing of Floyd Downs

35-year member of biology faculty was 83

June 24, 2019   /  

WOOSTER, Ohio – Floyd Downs, a member of the biology faculty at The College of Wooster from 1963-98, passed away Wednesday, June 19, following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. He was 83.

Downs’ 35-year career in the biology department included teaching a number of courses, with his favorite being “Vertebrate Natural History,” and serving as chair of the department. He loved taking students into the field to experience the diversity of life.

An expert in herpetology, the branch of zoology dealing with reptiles and amphibians, Downs published a major study of the relationships among a large group of neotropical snakes. Much of his fieldwork took place in Costa Rica, and when a previously unknown species of that group was discovered there, he was honored to have the scientific name be Geophis downsi.

In Ohio, Floyd researched the ecology, distribution, and behavior of salamanders, with much of his work focused on mole salamanders found in the northwestern part of the state. He was editor of a book, Salamanders of Ohio, published by the Ohio Biological Survey.

Floyd earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and then master’s and Ph.D. degrees in zoology from the University of Michigan.

A celebration of life service will be held Sunday, June 30, at 3 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County. Read Downs’ complete obituary at The Daily Record.