Richard H. Downes, Jr. ’60

Richard H. Downes, Jr. ’60 died on December 23, 2016, in Bedford, Massachusetts.

(The following was provided by Costello Funeral Home in December 23, 2016:)

The Rev. Richard Hill “Dick” Downes, aged 78, of Bedford MA, died on December 23, 2016, at Carleton Willard Village. He was the beloved husband of Sherry (Bingham) Downes. He is survived by his three stepsons, Edward B. Bland of Seattle, WA, Todd Bland of Milton, MA, and Richard Bland of Washington, DC, six grandchildren, his daughter-in-law, Nancy Frost Bland, and three cousins: Bob Downes of Providence, RI, David Chandler of Portsmouth RI, and Judy Chandler McCabe of Salem, NH.

Born in Haverhill, MA, on July 22, 1938, Dick was the son of the late Richard and Irene (Grimmer) Downes. He graduated from Haverhill High School and Bowdoin College.  He received his M. Div. degree from General Theological Seminary in New York. Two summers during seminary, he was a Winant Volunteer in London. Also while in seminary, he worked as a chaplain at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital for four years. Dick served as chaplain and teacher of religion at Saint Albans School in Washington from 1969 to 1979. The students at St. Albans nicknamed him “Bummer”. Then he became the headmaster of the Grace Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco, CA where he served from 1979 to 1984. After a year in New York as headmaster of Saint Bernard’s School, Dick was asked by the Bishop of Washington DC to take over as temporary head of Saint Patrick’s School. He served there for one and a half years and then was called to become chaplain of the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, NJ. After eight years as chaplain and teacher of religion, he wanted to end his career as the rector of an Episcopal church. Dick was asked to serve as priest-in-charge at The Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, MA. He agreed to become their permanent rector and served for a total of eight years until 2003, when he retired. In retirement he helped out at numerous churches including St. John the Evangelist on Bowdoin Street and St. Paul’s in Brookline.

Dick was known for his amazing sense of humor and his beautiful singing voice. He loved his family including his three dogs, Bowesie, Balmoral, and Madeline, and he also loved all things English including Gilbert and Sullivan. He and Sherry traveled a lot. They spent happy days visiting many friends and relatives almost every summer in England. On a recent cruise, he visited the Gaudi Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, and was rendered speechless by the beauty. The sound of a men’s and boys’ choir in a church or cathedral was for him the closest thing we have on earth to heaven.

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