Mr. John Lee Carroll "Hap" Downes, 86, passed peacefully at his home in Poquoson on Friday, June 15, 2018. Mr. Downes had lived on the Virginia Peninsula and in Poquoson for the past 49 years. Mr. Downes graduated secondary school, the Peddie School, Hightstown, NJ in 1951 and the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia in 1955, after which he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. His military service took him to many interesting places around the world to include Alaska, Germany, and Vietnam. After retirement from the Air Force in 1975, he began a second career in the computer industry primarily involved with developmental test and evaluation of government command, control and intelligence systems for the Air Force and Navy while working for Computer Sciences Corp, Inco, System Development Corp, Burroughs/UNISYS Corp and Comptek Research Inc until 1993. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (Alpha Mu Chapter at the University of Georgia), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the Air Force Association, and the National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA). Mr. Downes was also a member of the National Exchange Club of America and past President of the Local Exchange Club in Poquoson. Mr. Downes is survived by his family who will miss him deeply; his loving wife of nearly 58 years, Lore (Hannelore), with whom he shared many wonderful cruises around the world; his four children, Lt. Colonel Michael Downes (US Army, Ret.) and wife Lily of New Market, England, Betina Lose and husband James of Leesburg, VA, Deborah Lewis of Morehead City, NC, and Chip Sellas and wife Shila of St. Petersburg, FL; seven grandchildren, Sofia Downes, Michelle and Daniel Lose, Lily and Max Kline, and John and Stephen Sellas; and brother Colonel Michael McCahan Downes (US Army, Ret.) and wife, Babs of Martinez, GA. Hap Downes was a loving husband and father. He cared about his family more than anything and was always there for them. Everyone who knew Hap Downes liked him. He was an easygoing, kindhearted soul who never complained. He was polite, positive and nice to everyone. He was well respected, interesting, told great stories, was a good dancer, was easy to talk to, loved to travel, was classy and liked things that made him laugh (he was "Hap"py). Mr. Downes was a proud veteran, worked hard, was diligent, responsible and made a successful life. He was the kind of man his friends were glad to have known. As his good friend of more than 50 years, John Thomas wrote, "…He was the consummate officer and gentleman…it was an honor and privilege to have served with him". We say good-bye to Hap Downes, our husband, father, granddad, brother, friend and colleague, with tremendous sadness. His family cherishes the time we had with him. He was the light in our lives, we love him and will remember him fondly. Dad was our hero, we will miss him deeply. A memorial service will be held for Mr. Downes on Sunday, July 1, 2018, 2:00pm at Claytor Rollins Funeral Home, Poquoson. Interment will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Memorial donations may be made to the Poquoson Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 2404, Poquoson, VA, 23662. Online condolences to claytorrollins.com .
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Published in Daily Press on Jun. 27, 2018.