John F. Downes Jr., 91: Devoted to his wife of nearly 72 years

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PORTLAND — John Frederick Downes Jr., 91, died Oct. 6 at The Cedars Skilled Care Center after being recently diagnosed with bone cancer.

Born in Portland on Aug. 19, 1918, he was the son of John Frederick and Henrietta Elizabeth (Carleton) Downes.

He attended Portland schools and eventually received his GED from Portland High School on May 8, 1968.

On April 2, 1938 he married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Louise (Roberts) Downes.

Over the years, his occupations included serving as a Merchant Marine during World War II, working in sales, painting, auto repair and construction. After retiring from a position in maintenance at the Maine Youth Center in 1989, he continued working odd jobs until he recently became a full-time caregiver to his wife.

An active member of Clark Memorial Methodist Church, he served as a lay leader for 25 years. In 1975 he became a charter member of Christ Church in Portland.

He and his wife enjoyed square dancing, were members of the Cumberland County Recreation Council and the Maine Chapter No. 7 1918 Club.

He enjoyed tending to the bird feeder, the blueberry bushes and flower gardens.

A loving family-man, the entire family looked forward to meeting at their house on Christmas Day and opening the gifts that he and Eleanor made. He had a great sense of humor and will be remembered as a dapper gentleman who enjoyed dressing in a suit and tie for most occasions.

He was predeceased by his brother, Carleton Frederick, and his sister, Velma Louise (Downes) Merrill.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 72 years, Eleanor; his four children and their spouses, L. Marlene Tordoff and her husband, Arthur J. of South Portland, J. Raymond Downes and his wife Rosalie of Portland, Beth Schroeder and her husband, David of Cape Elizabeth and son, J. Delwyn Downes and his wife Dorita of Farmington: 10 grandchildren, Mark J. Tordoff of Gorham, Kevin J. Tordoff of Lancaster, Penn., Amy R. France of Topsfield, Mass., Dawn Marie Vanderburgh of Gorham, Glen R. Downes of Waterboro, Jeffrey A. Brannen of Poland, Lynne Cross of Cape Elizabeth, Nanda D. Downes of Richmond, Dawne DiFrancesco-Guidi of Portland and Scott DiFrancesco of New York; 19 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Memorial services were held last week.

Arrangements are by Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland.

Memorial donations may be made to Christ Church, 1900 Congress St., Portland, ME 04102.


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