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Eileen and Gerard Downey

Death Notice
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Eileen Patricia Downey
3/08/1917 - 10/19/2012
Gerard Eddington Downey
3/12/1913 - 9/16/2013

Married on 12/6/41 for
71 yrs.


Both born in New York City.


Dad grew up on 73rd St. in Brooklyn and attended Boys High School. When the depression came he worked during the day and took night classes at New York University, graduating with honors.


He and mom met on a blind date in Brooklyn set up by dad's best friend. The day after they married Pearl Harbor was attacked. So dad joined the Navy and was sent to Kodiak Island, Alaska. He left the Navy as a First Lieutenant. Mom stayed in New York with dad's family during the war.


After the war they moved out to California and lived in San Francisco. Their oldest son, Peter, was born in San Francisco. They then moved to Modesto were their next son, Paul, was born. Dad was hired by the American Trust Company, which was eventually bought by Wells Fargo. They then moved back to San Francisco, where their next two boys were born, James and Jerry.


Dad worked for 30 years at Wells Fargo, retiring as Vice President of Real Property Management. He was responsible for building the Wells Fargo Headquarters building at 464 California St. and many of the branches throughout the state during the 50's and 60's.


Mom was busy taking care of the four boys, but they moved out of San Francisco to the Burlingame hills in 1963. Mom became active in the Hillsborough Garden Club and dad was kept busy transforming the 1/3 acre backyard into a beautiful terraced garden, using his sons for labor of course.


Dad didn't want to retire at 65, but it was the rule at the time for Wells Fargo. He worked as a consultant for a while until he realized he really did want to retire.


They spent the next few years traveling the world and enjoying themselves. But they did have to live thru the pain of the deaths of sons Paul and James. In spite of this they kept going and never lost sight of the fact that it was good to be alive. We couldn't have better role models.


Survived by sons Peter Downey of Berkeley, Jerry Downey of Greenbrae & grandchildren, John, Evan & Isabella.


Services for Gerard Downey will be held on 10/3 at 10am, St. Catherine of Sienna, 1300 Bayswater Ave., Burlingame.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 29, 2013
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