Forrest was born on August 28, 1928, in Wakefield, MA; he was the dear son of the late Glenn and Phoebe Downs. Forrest was raised in a large family; he moved to Wilmington when he was a young boy when his family bought the Pettingill Dairy Farm at Perry’s Corner in Wilmington. Forrest was raised and educated in Wilmington; as a youngster, Forrest, along with his brothers and sisters learned how to work hard around the farm, take care of the animals, and milk the cows; they did everything as a family.
Forrest went on to serve in the U. S. Army Reserves before being inducted into active duty on January 24, 1951 during the Korean Conflict. Forrest served as a Sergeant with the 70th Engineer Combat Battalion and was awarded the Army of Occupation Medal for his service during the occupation of Germany. In January of 1953, after being honorably discharged from active duty, Forrest was transferred to the Army Ready Reserve and returned home to his family in Wilmington.
On June 6, 1951, Forrest married his “sweetheart” Helen Mae Ellsworth; the couple raised five wonderful children and shared more than 63 years together before Helen’s passing in October of 2014. Forrest loved being a dad; he was involved in the kids lives and they have many fond memories of their dad teaching them how to ice skate and play sports. As a “Papa” to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren he couldn’t be beat; Forrest spent countless hours on the side lines of every sporting event that those kids played, he was always cheering them on and giving them encouragement. Forrest Loved his family unconditionally and was always so proud of them.
Forrest was a hard worker and for over 38 years he dedicated himself to the Wilmington highway department. Forrest was an easy going guy, a wonderful co-worker, and a great friend to many. At the time of his retirement, Forrest had worked his way up to Assistant Superintendent but everyone knew he just loved working in his front end loader.
In his spare time, Forrest enjoyed playing card games such as cribbage and kings in the corner. Forrest was also a Boston sports fan who enjoyed watching hockey and the Red Sox with his daughter Cindy. In his younger years Forrest was an avid bowler who was so good that he even tried out for a spot on television.
Forest will be remembered as a nice guy; he would do anything for anyone especially his family and friends. Forrest will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Forrest was the beloved husband of the late Helen M. (Ellsworth) Downs, devoted father of Cynthia Ronan & her husband Kevin of Tewksbury, Clifford Downs & his wife Janice of Derry, NH, Carolynn Morrison & her husband John of Wilmington, Glenn Downs & Danielle McKiel of Wilmington, and Terri Higgins & her husband John of Newbury, NH, loving “Papa” of Kevin Ronan and Kim D’Agostino, Katie and Chris Wright, Kelli and Dennis Estabrook, Keith Ronan and Tara Robertson, Kurt Ronan and Bery Madrano, Cliff and Emily Downs, Amy Huot, Angela and Sean Hyde, Ethan Downs, Nathan Downs, Christina and Mike Day, Joey Downs, Billy Downs, Sean Higgins, Shannon Higgins, Justin, Matthew, and Emily McKeil, Great Papa of Kaliegh, Emily, Jack, Max, Carter, Andrew, Cameron, Logan, Julia, Alivia, Owen, Declan, Tyler, Haleigh, Kylie, Brooklyn, Mikayla, Ryan, Arianna, Ryan, and Kaitlin, dear son of the late Glenn F. and Phoebe S. (Carpenter) Downs, brother of Clifton Downs of Mansfield, the late Francis, Edward, Clayton, Clesson, Harvey, and James Downs, Pauline Russo, Stella Flynn, Geneva Morrison, and Charlotte Gaudette. Forrest is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather for Forrest’s Funeral Service at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Wednesday, December 7th at 11:00 a.m. Interment with Military Honors will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Vising Hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Tuesday, December 6th from 3-7 p.m.