Firefighter to the Core
Raymond M. Downey was the battalion chief in charge of special operations in the New York City Fire Department.
Here's his son, Chuck, a fire lieutenant: "Dad joined the Fire Department on April 7, 1962. Coming on in the 60's, they went to a lot of fires. The war years, they termed it. In 1995 he was assigned to Special Operations Command, SOC is the acronym, as chief of rescue operations. . . .
"He was on the Gilmore Commission to fight domestic terrorism. No one's going to see it all, but I don't think anyone thought of the World Trade Center. . . .
"When the south tower went down, there was a lot of Maydays. He survived. A lot of the top brass did. These are all guys with 30- plus years. They went back in. There were two young firemen, he told them, not in the nicest language, to get out of here."
Here's Chief Downey's daughter, Marie Tortorici: "Mommy, Rosalie, is Italian. Daddy's Irish. He would have been 64 on Sept. 19. He's very spiritual. He was in Oklahoma City after the bombing. Gov. Keating gave him a set of rosary beads. He wore them every day. Well, they broke, and he kept them in his pocket. He had them with him, because they're not home. . . .
"When I was a little girl, he was working three jobs to support the family, and he was always too busy to come to the school to do fire prevention week. Last year, when my daughter was in first grade, he went to the school for fire prevention week. I don't know. It's so sad, everything. But a good thing came out of this. My sister, my father called her the baby, we just found out she's pregnant. So she felt like it was a blessing from my father."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 22, 2001.
DOWNEY-Raymond. Of Deer Park, LI, FDNY-Deputy Chief of Special Operations Command, heroically in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a week before his 64th birthday. Beloved husband of Rosalie (nee Princiotta). Loving and adored father of Joseph and Lynn, Marie and Girolamo Tortorici, Chuck and Melissa, Ray and Christine, Kathy and Brian Ugalde. Cherishd poppy of Gina Marie, Nicolette Rose, Peter Raymond, Joseph James, Connor Joseph, Olivia Faith and Kayla Rae. A dear brother to Eugene, Thomas and the late Joseph and Alice Routledge. Dear brother-in-law of Eileen Downey, Jean Downey and Sal Princiotta. Survived by many loving nieces and nephews and cherished family and friends. Memorial viewing at the Claude R. Boyd-Caratozzolo Funeral Home, 1785 Deer Park Ave, Deer Park, NY, on Thursday and Friday from 2-5 PM and 7-9:30 PM. A memorial mass will be held at St. Cyril and Methodius, RC Church at 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 15th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his loving memory to the Deputy Chief, Raymond Downey Scholarship - Charity Fund (D.C.R.D.S.C Fund) 7 Bardish Lane, Babylon, NY 11702.
Paid notice published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 13, 2001.