Richard Downs

Obituary of Richard Edward Downs

Richard Edward Downs, 81, passed away Sunday, June 14, 2015, at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge, Florida. Richard was born June 4, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York, the second of four children born to Ernest Alphonsus Downs and Helen Catherine Dieckman Downs. He grew up on Long Island, in the town of Baldwin; graduated in 1952 from Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn; and briefly attended Long Island Technical College before being inducted in 1954 into the U.S. Army. In 1955 he married North Carolina native Jan Theresa Hunt whom he+óGé¼Gäód met a few summers earlier when they worked together at Jones Beach on Long Island. After serving two years stateside with the U.S. Army, Richard signed on with RCA as an electronic technician. He worked first at Cape Canaveral, now Kennedy Space Center, tracking missile launches for range safety. Later while working for CSR (Computer Sciences Raytheon) at Patrick Air Force Base he helped develop the first computer-assisted tracking radar. He retired at age 57 due to the early onset of macular degeneration which left him legally blind. Not one to sit still for long, he soon became an active volunteer at his church, St. Mary’s (Rockledge), where he worked on the grounds, in the office, and on the parish fair committee. In 1997 he also began volunteering with Brevard Habitat for Humanity, where he was affectionately known as +óGé¼+ôDead-Eye+óGé¼-¥ and served for many years as Crew Chief. Richard’s family and friends will remember him as a man of great faith whose love of God, love of family, and love of life was contagious to all around him. Richard was preceded in death by his wife; his parents; a son, Patrick C. Downs; a grandson, Ryan Richard Downs; and a sister, Jane Ann Downs.+é-áHe is survived by 5 children+óGé¼GÇ¥Teri Tillman and husband, Barry, of Natchez, Miss., Michael Downs of Mobile, Ala., Michelle Taylor of Leesburg, Fla., Douglas Downs and wife, Valerie, of Brooklyn, Conn., Robbi Bocinsky and husband, Mark, of Melbourne, Fla.; a sister, Helen D. Flood of Thompson, Conn.; a brother, Tom Downs, and wife, Ruth, of Stony Brook, N.Y.; a brother-in-law, Jim Hunt, and wife, Dae, of Taylorsville, N.C.; two sisters-in-law, Peggy H. Phillips, of Orlando, Fla., and Robin H. Hefner and husband, Keith, of Hickory, N.C.; 11 grandchildren+óGé¼GÇ¥Amanda Tillman Shea, Benjamin F. Tillman, Christina Downs Fletcher Walters, Lauren Taylor, Samuel Taylor, Taylor Downs, Garrett Downs, Mark Edward Bocinsky (now Brother Nathanael Colombiere), Nicholas Bocinsky, Sean Bocinsky, and Meghan Bocinsky; 6 great-grandchildren+óGé¼GÇ¥Liam Shea, Connor Shea, Jack Shea, Emma Tillman, Ashley Fletcher, and Allen Walters; and many other relatives, including a devoted nephew, Stuart Hunt, and wife, Nancy, of Palm Bay, Fla. The family wishes to thank Dr. Jaime V. Furman, Dr. Eugene S. Killeavy, Dr. Omar Khashaba, and the ICU staff and Respiratory Therapy Department at Wuesthoff Medical Center. Services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, August 22, 2015, at St. Mary+óGé¼Gäós Catholic Church, Rockledge, with Father Nicholas King officiating. Inurnment will follow at Florida Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until service time Saturday at the church.In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials in Richard+óGé¼Gäós name to Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County (4515 Babcock St., Palm Bay, FL 32905).
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