Obituaries

Downs, Elizabeth V. “Betty”

October 6th, 2011
Elizabeth V. “Betty” (Akins) Downs, age 84, a long-time resident of Wilmington, died peacefully at home with her family at her side on Thursday, October 6, 2011. Betty was born on May 10, 1927 in Winchester, MA, she spent her early years in Reading, MA and moved to Wilmington when she was about 9 years old. Betty was the cherished only child of Wilfred “Bill” and Elizabeth (MacLellan) Andrews. Betty was educated in the Wilmington Public Schools where she made life-long friends and graduated Wilmington High School with the Class of 1945.
 
Betty married the “love of her life” Francis E. Downs, Sr. on January 8, 1948, together they raised five children, enjoyed many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, provided a loving home, and made many memories to share for generations to come. Betty was undoubtedly devoted to her family, she loved her children unconditionally and was always there for them, she not only taught them how to love one another but also the importance of family. When her children were young, the family took many trips together to the Maine Coast, Niagra Falls, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, Canada, the family remembers Betty always singing on the long car rides and teaching the children her favorite songs. As her family grew, Betty taught them to be responsible adults and when they married she welcomed the “in-laws” and became “Mom” to everyone.
 
Betty treasured being a grandmother and great-grandmother she always had an “open door” policy for them and their friends and she always knew how to make others feel welcome. Betty was very proud of her family and their accomplishments, in her home is a “Memory Lane” hallway that is filled with photographs of different times in her life that were important and if that wasn’t enough, she cataloged thousands of pictures of the many good times that she had with her family and friends.
 
Betty’s career as a talented writer and a hard worker started many, many years ago. Betty first entered her profession as a correspondent at the Wilmington Crusader Newspaper in 1951 where she worked along with Captain Larz Neilson, together they worked there for four years before Captain Larz went out on his own to start the Wilmington Town Crier. Betty stayed with the Crusader until the mid 1960’s when she took a position as a type setter at the Town Crier for Captain Larz. Betty, also fondly known as BeeDee to her co-workers, also wrote a column known as “Bits and Pieces” which was made up of short news items such as birthdays, anniversaries, or special accomplishments of the residents of Wilmington and Tewksbury and she also headed the “obituaries section” of the newspaper for many years. Betty worked at the Town Crier for over 40 years and was honored as a dedicated and loyal employee following her retirement in 2003.
 
In her spare time, Betty enjoyed sewing and crocheting, she was always making something for someone. She was an avid VHS video collector and ahead of her time with the video stores, Betty had countless videos that she shared with family and friends but she also had a log book to keep track of her collection, you had to sign one out and could not borrow another until you returned the one you borrowed, Video Paradise had nothing on Betty.
 
Betty also liked to visit yard sales, where she found treasures for herself as well as others and was a huge collector of depression glass.
 
Betty had a fondness for children and animals especially dogs, she was a huge supporter of St. Jude’s Shrine and PAWS for Life.
Betty will be remembered as a person who was quiet in nature and had a huge heart, she was loving, giving, caring, and kind. Betty would help anyone in need not expecting anything in return. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, co-worker, and friend who will be truly missed by all.
 
Betty was the beloved wife of 63 years to Francis E. Downs, Sr., devoted mother of Wilfred F. “Bill” Downs & his wife Beverly of Lowell, Glenna Feeley & her husband John of Alton, NH, Francis E. “Frank” Downs, Jr. & his wife Pamela of Wilmington, Andrew “Mack” Downs & his wife Danielle of Pelham, NH, and the late Phyllis Hagen & her husband Joseph “Butch” of Delaware, loving grandmother of Tina Allen, Wilfred F. II, Michael, Patrick, Courtney, and Timothy Downs, Joseph and Andrea Barnes, Dereck and Stephen Downs, Ben and Travis Downs, Jarred and Jason Hagan, Jacob and Christine Downs, and great-grandchildren John, Dillon, Angelina, Jaylyn, Natasha, Devin, Matthew, and Lylah. Betty is also survived by her Maid of Honor and life long friend Mabel Manning and her cousin Thomas MacFeeley as well as many brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
 
Family and friends will gather for a Funeral Home Service on Tuesday, October 11th at 11:00 a.m. in the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington. Interment Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours Monday, October 10th from 3-7 p.m. Memorial donations in Betty’s name may be made to Nationwide Center for St. Jude Devotions 512 West Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1896 or to PAWS for Life, P. O. Box 11208, Pueblo, CO 81001.
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9 Entries in Guest Book for “Downs, Elizabeth V. “Betty””

  1. Fred Neilson says:

    Very sorry to hear the news. BeeDee was a good friend, fiercely loyal yet very humble. She’d work ’til 3 a.m. if that was what it took to get the paper out — and then ride to the printer with Larz, just so he wouldn’t fall asleep driving. I’m glad I visited her last spring to return some photos. She said I could have mailed them, but then I wouldn’t have seen her and Francis.

  2. Rick Cooke says:

    BeeDee was like a second mother to me, always willing to listen to my troubles or concerns, even if it was 3 a.m. and we were running behind in getting the newspaper to the printer. I grew up laughing with her and listening to her words of wisdom. I called her often and stopped by several times, and I will always be glad that I took the time- and more importantly- she took the time- to always care about me. God bless BeeDee!

  3. Linda Guild says:

    My sympathy to the Down’s family for your loss. The only time I met Betty was with her husband at Mac & Danielle’s wedding. They impressed me as a very sweet, down to earth, loving couple. They certainly raised a great son in Mac. Danielle spoke often and fondly of her and Mac always had funny stories to tell. I will remember Betty and her family in my prayers.

  4. Ruth Kichton says:

    Pam my sincere sympathies to you and Franks family..
    She must have been a wonderful, classy lady, she will be missed..
    Ruth

  5. Ruth Kichton says:

    Pam my sincere sympathies to you and Franks family..
    She must have been a wonderful, classy lady, she will be missed..
    Ruth

  6. Reginald E. Tucci says:

    My sympaties to the family I was your neighbor at 833 woburn st for many yrs granson of the Reynolds Wilmington will miss a great lady

  7. Jud Miller says:

    Dear Francis and family,

    I was lucky enough to meet and work with BeeDee at the Town Crier, wen I was in high scxhool. (and Francis, too)

    Alhough I had moved to NH, we kept in contact over the years through Christmas cards.

    She was a special woman who loved her husband and her family very much.

    May she rest in peace, and soar with the Angels above.

    My heartfelt sympathy and condolence to you all.

  8. Janet (Witham) Hawed says:

    I know she will be be missed by family and friends. I hope you can take comfort in your memories and will cherish her in your heart always.

  9. BILLY TUCCI says:

    A real lady and a fine person, I only knew her through my mom BETTY (REYNOLDS TUCCI, & Uncle Edd Sonny REYNOLDS) I had many nice chats of old times at the family grave sights. She never missed a occasion.. I will cherish that always. BILLY

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