In Memoriam : Mary Downey
Mary Lou Downey - age: 88
(August 09, 1930 to January 07, 2019
A celebration of her life will be held at First Parish Congregational Church, 12 Beach Street, Saco on Saturday, February 16th at 1:00 pm with Rev. Deborah Breault officiating. Contributions in Lu's memory may be considered for the ministry and outreach of First Parish Congregational Church, 12 Beach Street, Saco, ME 04072.
Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home and Cremation are entrusted with her arrangements.
Mary Lou Downey mothered three children with heartfelt energy and devotion. She provided a well-organized home that ran like clockwork. This loving order served as an undergirding of support and security for her husband and her children. She was a talented artist, a designer, a builder, an organizer, and a baker. She made the wedding gowns for her daughters and baptism outfits for several of her grandchildren, while also working outside of the home. She worked as an exceptional administrative assistant in positions that moved, as she did, from Oregon to Arizona, Ohio, Massachusetts and Maine, following the career of Loren Downey, her husband of 57 years. Together, Lu and Loren designed and executed the loving renovation of their farmhouse on Joy Valley Road in Buxton. It seemed like there was nothing Lu could not do herself, and there was no stopping her.
Lu contributed to many of the decisions for the rebuilding of the First Parish Congregational church in Saco after the fire. She served as a tireless, creative and productive church historian and was an active member of the church's
prayer group and the prayer shawl ministry. She was enthralled with spiritual matters, and savored stimulating conversation, whether it was about the latest book she had read or the politics of the day. She was often ready with a provocative question to challenge her listeners, and was open to being challenged, herself, in any area. She could laugh at herself while being a compassionate and insightful listener for family and friends. All the while, Lu consistently sought out her own personal life lessons through reflection and meditation. She viewed her terminal illness as another life lesson to be studied.
Lu was an intelligent, thoughtful, talented and generous woman who will be missed by the grateful family she has left behind.
She passed away peacefully in the loving care of Gosnell, Hospice of Southern Maine.
Heath Tuttle - February 8, 2022 Contact this person
Dear Downey Family:
I write this with a bit of hesitation, as I am not absolutely certain this is the Mary Lou Downey I knew, but some of the biographical description does match what I know of Mary Lou in 1959-1961 (and we knew her simply as “Lou” then).
I did my first two years of college in Eugene, Oregon, at the University of Oregon (where my dad then taught in the Theatre Department. The summer before my Freshman Year he encouraged me to try to work for a research faculty member, perhaps in the Psychology Department. I found my way to a relatively young teacher from Stanford researching human judgment, Dr. Paul Hoffman.
Paul had several doctoral candidates working with him, as well as several staff members helping with statistical analysis of his data, one of whom was Lou Downey. (My job was to validate the analyses, using a big, electric calculator.
It, for that first summer, a full-time job, so we all got to know each other very well. Lou was good-humored, laughed easily, and was very sociable. I learned her husband was a school principal, I believe, and he and Lou had at least one daughter. In fact they invited me once to their modern, wooden house (very typical in Eugene at the time) for dinner, and I played ping pong with Mr. Downey close to the kitchen/family room, Lou having known from my earlier playing with Paul that I enjoyed (and still do!) playing.
The family—and I, alas, cannot recall the children—was very relaxed, charming, and endearing. I have nothing but pleasant memories of both parents.
I got itchy academic feet, however, and “fled” the U.S. for what became a year’s work and study in France (June, 1961-June, 1962). Simultaneously, I gather Lou’s family moved to Arizona, for a new position in Education for her husband, and I lost track of the family.
If I have correctly identified Lou, and you are related to her, know that she was everything described in her obituary. And if you are one of her children that you made an excellent “choice” of parents. Lou and your family are one of my enduring memories of Eugene.
Durham, North Carolina