Edward Thomas Downing 9/15/1921-8/5/2016
Resided in: Providence, Rhode Island. West Warwick, Rhode Island. Brooksville, Florida. North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Lutz, Florida. Tampa, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
Edward loved to shock people when he said he had 12 children! It was true... and he loved them all.
Born to and loved by Edward and his first wife, the late Rita Papineau Downing, are Edward T. Downing, Jr. of Greenville, Rhode Island, (wife Deborah Somers Downing), Ann Downing of North Providence, Rhode Island, Mary Downing Young of Tampa, Florida, Rita Downing Wickner of Lutz, Florida (husband Todd Wickner), Joseph Downing of Providence, Rhode Island, Denise Downing Sullivan of Orlando, Florida (partner Bob Horner and the late Carl Sullivan), and Cynthia Downing of North Kingstown, Rhode Island (partner Michael Lees).
Also loved by Edward and his second wife, the late Betty Mueller Killea Downing, but born to Betty and her first husband Thomas Killea, are Edward's step-children: Kathleen Killea Mutch of Novi, Michigan (husband Charles Mutch), Colleen Killea Wiebner of Huntsville, Alabama (husband Juan Carlos Orellana and the late Howard Wiebner), Kevin Killea of Morrison, Tennessee (wife Kathleen Killea), the late Terrence Killea formerly of North Kingstown, Rhode Island (wife Margaret Killea), and Sean Killea of Coventry, Rhode Island (wife Leighann Killea). Also missing Edward will be Deborah Killea.
Lovingly remembering their Grandfather are: Meghan, Andrew and John Downing. Lacy and Larissa Downing. Benjamin, Jennifer and Michael Young. Daniel and Joanna Wickner. Jeffrey and David Sullivan. Ashley and Kimberly Horner and Kimberley's daughter Leia. Kaylei and her husband Andre Duncan and their children Avah and Andre.
Lovingly remembering their step-Grandfather are: Charles and wife Jennell Mutch. Andrew and wife Wendy Mutch. Johnathan and wife Tomoko Mutch. Matthew Mutch. Robert and wife Sarah Mutch. Meghan and husband Brent Rodak. Lindsey and husband Kyle O'Donohue. Adam and wife Chen Weibner. Michael and wife Veronica Weibner. Fred and wife Carrie Killea. Kimberly and husband Anthony Nugyen.
Erin, Lauren and Timothy Killea. Julie and Mark. Carleigh and Hannah Killea.
Edward and his late wife Betty had 15 great-grand children.
Edward was a devoted son to his late parents Etta Furey Downing and Edward David Downing of Warwick, Rhode Island. He was the brother of Virginia Downing Miller of The Villages, Florida and also of the late Robert Downing formerly of Cranston, Rhode Island.
Edward leaves his nieces and nephews: Patti Miller Gorby, Lynne Miller Goodfellow (husband Richard), Janie Miller Kalagian. Carol Downing Cooney (husband Joseph), Robert Downing, Joan Downing Faiola, Jean Downing Infussi, Thomas Downing (wife Tina Downing), James Downing, Kathleen Downing Mellilo, and their mother Rita Downing. All are from Rhode Island.
Edward was a graduate of Mount Pleasant High School in Providence.
Edward joined the Rhode Island Naval Reserves in 1939. He attended boot camp in Newport, Rhode Island, and Naval Training School in Toledo, Ohio. He was stationed at the Jacksonville and Banana River Naval Air Stations in Florida. During World War II, he was a First Class Petty Officer for Headquarters Squadron Fleet Air Wing Two at the Naval Air Station in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
Edward was a Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department Lieutenant with 23 years of service when he retired in 1969. He was a Past President and long time Secretary of the Providence Firefighters Local
799, IAFF, AFL-CIO and also Secretary and member of the Providence Permanent Fireman's Relief Association.
Edward was a Third Degree Knight of Columbus.
After his firefighting career, Edward was an Accounts Maintenance Clerk at the US Naval Commissary at Quonset Point, Rhode Island from 1969 until it closed in 1973. He was then one of the original employees of the Rhode Island State Lottery System from which he retired in 1981 as the Ticket Accounting Supervisor.
While a resident of West Warwick, Rhode Island from 1972 to 1983, Edward and his wife Betty owned and operated Hebert's Mini Market on Pond Street.
Always looking to improve his skills, In 1971 Edward took classes at Roger Williams College (now University) in Bristol, Rhode Island in Accounting I. He continued advanced Accounting II classes at Pilgrim High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. Then classes in 1975 took him to the University of Rhode Island to prepare him for his Real Estate License which he attained. In 1981 he completed 152 hours of instruction at James L. Hanley Career and Education Center in Providence, Rhode Island for Printing Training.
Edward, and his late wife Betty, moved to Brooksville, Florida in 1983. There, he was a 10 year Commander of the Brooksville American Legion Post 99 from 1986-1996 and past Commander of the Hernando County Council For Veterans Affairs. He performed military honors at the funeral services of more than one thousand Veterans.
While in Florida, Edward continued his quest for knowledge by studying at the Pasco-Hernando County Community College in Dade City, Florida in 1984-1985 to obtain his Florida Real Estate License.
In March 2014, accompanied by his daughters, Cynthia Downing, Denise Downing Sullivan and Mary Downing Young, Edward
participated in Honor Flight Echo, sponsored by the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs (RIAFC). This organization, among other things, raises funds to honor World War II Veterans by transporting them to Washington, DC to see "their" beautiful World War II Memorial...a memorial dedicated to WW II Veterans' war efforts.
This writer will never forget that evening's mail call. Each veteran participated in a mail call similar to the mail call they experienced while serving their country. Each veteran received letters from their family filled with words of love and pride and youthful pictures of themselves in uniform. The tears flowed with love, remembrances and happiness that night!
After Edward lost his wife Betty, he was watched over and lovingly cared for by his children. Always appreciative of a pretty female smile, Edward welcomed living at various times with his five beautiful daughters in their individual homes...most recently in Orlando with his resourceful and ever patient daughter Denise. His male bonding and sports needs were well supported by Denise's sons David and Jeff and the very special Bob Horner, Edward's two sons, his son-in-law, the ever special Mike Lees and the infamous Muzzy, Storm and Kane!
In April 2015, Edward moved into the Baldomero Lopez State Veterans' Nursing Home in Land O'Lakes, Florida where he peaceful passed away.
Edward's family will always be grateful to the nursing staff and caretakers, professionals, and all other departments including the oh so important food service and laundry personnel, who took care of our dad. A special thank you to his co-residents who befriended him and us.
Visiting services will be at Russell Boyle & Sons Funeral Home at 331 Smith St., Providence RI on Thursday, August 11, 2016, 5:00pm-8:00pm). A funeral Mass will be held at St. Francis de Sales Church at 381 School St., N. Kingstown RI, Friday, 10:00 AM.
Burial will be at Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery 301 South County Trail in Exeter, Rhode Island with Military honors following the church service.
If you choose, Memorial donations in honor of Edward can be sent to any Salvation Army organization of your choice. Edward was grateful for the many times the Salvation Army came with coffee and food while he and his co-workers fought blazing fires during his career with the Providence Fire Department.
Memorial donations may also be sent to: Honor Flight c/o R.I.A.F.C. Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 6041 Providence, Rhode Island 02940-6041 This is a 501 (c) (3) Public Charity.
This ever hardworking, strong, brave, generous, thoughtful, sweet, always ready with a smile, loving man will live on in our hearts!