Jill Nicole Casten Downing, 38, Manhattan: June 17, 1980 – April 23, 2019

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Jill Nicole Casten Downing, 38, passed away on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at her home in Manhattan, Kan. She was born on June 17, 1980, in Ottawa, Kan., the daughter of the late Joyce (Stinson) Casten and Jeff Casten.

Jill grew up in Quememo, Kan., and graduated from Marais des Cygnes Valley High School in 1998. She had lived in Manhattan since 2014.

Jill received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture economics from Kansas State University in 2002, and a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska in 2005, along with a Ph.D. in agriculture and extension education from Virginia Tech in 2011. She had worked for the National FFA organization, American Farm Bureau, and most recently at Kansas Farm Bureau as the senior director for educational training.

Jill attended Crestview Church, Manhattan. She served organizations that she had benefited from, including Kansas FFA Foundation, K-State Ag Alumni Board, Kansas FFA Association, and numerous 4-H roles.

On June 9, 2018, Jill was married to Bo Downing, in Quenemo.

Jill is survived by her husband, Bo, of the home; father, Jeff Casten, and his wife, Merrilyn, Quenemo; three sisters, Jennifer (Peter) Roy, Vassar, Kan., Janae (Caleb) McNally, Quenemo, Jarah (Mike) Hauger, Gardner, Kan.; and 13 nieces and nephews.

Jill was preceded in death by her mother, Joyce; grandparents, John and Dorothy Casten and Bennie and Jean Stinson; and two aunts and an uncle.

A celebration of Jill’s life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at the Marais des Cygnes Valley High School gymnasium, Melvern, Kan. The family will receive friends immediately following Jill’s celebration until 5 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Jill Casten Memorial Fund, to help support 4-H and FFA students, sent in care of Feltner Funeral Home, 818 Topeka Ave., Lyndon, KS 66451, or contributions to the Kansas FFA Foundation in Jill’s name can be made here https://ksffafoundation.givingfuel.com/casten.

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