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Regina Lynch "Jean" Downes

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Regina Lynch "Jean" Downes Obituary
Regina "Jean" Lynch Downes


Regina "Jean" Lynch Downes, 81, of Milton, went to Heaven Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, and made it sweeter than ever.

She was born Jan. 5, 1936 to Sussex County farmers George and Dorothy Lynch. Jean graduated from Rehoboth High School in 1954. Afterward, she moved to New York City where she worked for a publisher and pursued a modeling career. She then married John Michael "Mike" Downes, also of Rehoboth Beach, when he was serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

As a Navy wife, Jean traveled the world, delivering and raising their seven children in places as far as Cuba (during the Cuban missile crisis) and Japan (during the Vietnam War). Jean and Mike eventually returned to Sussex County, bringing their squadron to the civilian life they loved. They lived in Dewey Beach and later settled in one of the historic homes in Milton. Jean was employed at Beebe Hospital and retired after 30 years.

While raising children in Milton, and with their large and local family population and many friends, Jean was the hostess of weekly get-togethers at the home. In those days, only Norma's Restaurant and "the Dairy" had more visitors in Milton on a Saturday night.

She also enjoyed spending time on the Rehoboth Boardwalk, people watching with her boardwalk fries.

At home, Jean could whip up a country dinner or an exotic Asian meal (learned in Japan) with equivalent ease. She loved New York City, especially Broadway shows and the arts. She was gifted with a unique painting style and sowed the seeds of ballet in our community. She was instrumental in assisting daughter Kate start-up her local dance studio where she enjoyed going to see the Nutcracker each year and helping with all the dancers. She loved simple things, her quotes and her quiet, but she also loved being surrounded by her bustling family.

Jean embodied generations of matriarchal and sisterly love. Her grandmother had seven sisters, her mother had four sisters, and she was one of four sisters. Jean also had six daughters and a son.

Jean has an endearing legacy, memorialized by her family and community life, because she made every person that knew her feel like they were the most important person in the world. She took your side and endured your pain while offering sweet and gentle support from any tragedy as small as a "boo-boo" to divorce and death. Each of us blessed to know Jean, somehow know we are special to Jean. She, in turn, will be adored forever by us all.

She is survived by her children Laura Downes, Mickey Downes (Prudence), Dara Hearn (Jack), Natalie Doney (John), Amy Baker (Chuck), Molly Foraker (Don), Kate Walker (Geoffrey) and her longtime companion and love, Bob Edgerton of Milton and his four children, Jim, Lorraine, Maria and Michael; and also the next generation of Jean's "instant crowd," her 16 grandchildren; Natalie, Michael, Allison, Miriah, Alex, Jack, Mickey, Madison, Abby, Ross, Cameron, Chip, Will, Tess, Claudia and Priscilla; and Jean's sisters Dotty Quillen, Terry Gardner (Doug), Ruthie Stevenson (Neil) and countless cousins, nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at St. Edmond Catholic Church in Rehoboth Monday, Feb. 13, with visitation from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 2 p.m. There will be a private interment. In lieu of flowers, family asks that donations be made in Jean's memory to Leiomyosarcoma Direct Research at P.O. Box 52697 Tulsa, OK 74152. Arrangements in the care of Short Funeral Services, Milton.
Published in The News Journal on Feb. 11, 2017
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