Longaker, Dr. William Downs
Dr. William Downs Longaker, Nov. 29, 1920- Dec.1, 2017
He liked obituaries that really describe who someone was, so we try to honor that here. He was a man who loved words but when he had something to say, he said it best by being with you in his own quiet way. He always joked at every birthday that he was turning 22 and a half. Lucky for us he just turned 97.
How does one get all the way to 97? Accentuate the positive/ Stay close to your family / Live with a cat/ Have a little gin/ Value peace and quiet/ Visit the ocean and the mountains/ Listen to music everywhere/ Drive a tractor and a fast car/ Pay attention to politics/ Tell jokes/ Have lots of cookbooks and use them/ Make your own bread and wine/ Grow your own grapes, tomatoes and dahlias/ Live in the country in a college town/ Admire flowers & fishes, birds & animals/ Look at the moon/ Never stop learning /Read voraciously/ Enjoy your work/ Listen well/ Be glad your mother lived to be 100! / Live life on your own terms and have no regrets.
A long-time resident of Ithaca, he was born in Philadelphia, attended Lower Merion High School, Wesleyan University (1938-40) and Swarthmore College (1940-42). He received his medical degree at University of Pennsylvania (1945), spent 2 years as a doctor for the U.S. Naval Reserve at Norfolk, Va. (1946-48) and did his Residency in Psychiatry at USVA Hospital in Coatesville, Pa. (1948-1951). He attended Cornell's ILR School in 1951-53. For many years, he practiced psychiatry in Ithaca and Binghamton.
He is survived by his children Mark, formerly Downs (Susan Davis), Susan, Anna (Ted Leighton), Daniel (Kiranjit) and Cara (Eric Zegers); grandchildren Patrick and Margaret Leighton, Malcolm and Leela Longaker, Zacharie and Valerie Zegers; and great-grandchildren Thomas, Nicholas and Ronan Leighton; his friend and former wife Patricia Longaker, and brother Richard Longaker.
A celebration of his life will be held at Six Mile Creek Vineyard in Ithaca on Friday, December 8, 2017. Family will receive guests anytime between 6 and 9 pm. The family will begin offering brief spoken remembrances at 6:30.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to your preferred nature conservation organization.
Published in Ithaca Journal on Dec. 5, 2017.