Francis E. Downs, Sr., age 90, of Wilmington, passed away at home on September 19, 2013. Born on April 9, 1923, in Warren, VT, Francis was the oldest of twelve children to Glenn and Phoebe (Carpenter) Downs. Shortly after Francis was born, the family moved to Wakefield where Francis spent most of his childhood. At the age of 17, the family relocated to Wilmington, the town that Francis would make his home.
Francis married the love of his life, Elizabeth “Betty” Akins, in 1948. Together, they raised five children. He loved to take the family on trips to Kennebunk, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as enjoying picnics and taking rides to the beach on Sundays. Francis loved gardening, picking blueberries and strawberries, as well as playing cribbage, collecting wind-chimes and taking in Football games. Francis loved his family and took great care of them. He would always be willing to lend a hand to whomever needed one; all they had to do was ask. In their later years, Francis and Betty enjoyed the company of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were so important to them and they were extremely proud of all of them.
Francis was a hard worker. He worked many jobs during his life to provide for his family. In 1944, Francis took a job with the Town of Wilmington, at the age of 21, and spent thirty six years there working as a foreman and the superintendent for the cemetery department before his retirement in 1980. Francis also worked for Coombs Furniture for over 30 years doing furniture deliveries. Francis also spent many years as the “right-hand man” of Bud Lyford, former owner of the Nichols Funeral Home, whatever Bud needed, Francis was always there with a helping hand. After retirement, since he never finished high school, Francis secretly went back to school and received his GED on August 31, 1992, at the age of 69.
Francis was the beloved husband of Elizabeth V. (Akins) Downs. He was the devoted father 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 Hagan & her husband Joseph “Butch” of Delaware. Frances was the loving grandfather of Tina Allen, Wilfred F. II, Michael, Patrick, Courtney, and Timothy Downs, Joseph Barnes & his wife Earlene, Andrea Barnes, Dereck and Stephen Downs, Ben, Travis, Jarred and Jason Hagan and Jacob and Christine Downs, great-grandfather of John, Dillon, Angelina, Jaylyn, Natasha, Devin, Matthew Lylah, Kynley, Hannah and Cailyn. Francis was the dear brother of Forrest Downs of Wilmington, Clifton Downs of Mansfield, Stella Flynn of Reading and the late Clayton, Clesson, Harvey, Edward and James Downs, Geneva Morrison, Charlotte Godett and Pauline Russo. Francis is also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends.
Family and friends gathered for a Funeral Service on Tuesday, September 24th at 11:00 a.m. at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave., (Rte. 62), Wilmington. Interment followed in Wildwood Cemetery. Visiting hours were held Monday, September 23rd from 4 to 8 p.m. Memorial donations in Francis’ name may be made to the Care Alternatives Hospice, 100 Locke Drive, Marlborough, MA 01752 or the Jimmy Fund, c/o Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168.