Walter Joseph Downey, Jr.

March 08, 1931 - February 19, 2023


Obituary For Walter Joseph Downey, Jr.

Walter Joseph Downey, Jr. died February 19, 2023 with Josephine, his wife of 69 years, and Karen Merritt, his daughter, by his side. He was born in Orange, New Jersey, March 8, 1931, to Walter and Marie Downey. He is survived by Josephine; children Michael Downey, John Downey (wife Jean), Katherine Downey Betancourt (husband Einar), Karen Downey Merritt and Kevin Downey; and by 11 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren every one of whom would see him shine.

He was a devout and practicing Catholic. He shared his strong faith through teaching CCD and volunteering at Catholic Parish Outreach. He served many years as an usher and lector. His 5 children attended Catholic school.

As an electrical designer he helped design the communication circuits of the Titan And Murcury projects with NASA. In 2017 his efforts were recognized with his name engraved on commemorative wall at the Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum. The permanent exhibit recognizes individuals who contributed to the nation’s space program. He eventually settled in Raleigh with his family and made the city his home. He worked for ITT Telecommunications/Alcatel Communications until his retirement in 1992.

Walter suffered with Alzheimers’ for 7 years. His spirit still shone through when he smiled, sang softly with that hint of an Irish brogue, or if a great-grandchild came into the room.

A memorial Mass is being planned St. Raphael’s Church in Raleigh. Please check back for details.
In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution to Alzheimer's Association.


23 Feb


01:00 PM - 02:00 PM

St Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church 5801 Falls of Neuse Rd. Raleigh, NC 27609 Get Directions »
23 Feb

Rite of Committal

02:00 PM

St Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church 5801 Falls of Neuse Rd. Raleigh, NC 27609 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

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  • 02/24/2023

    Jo, Thinking about you at this difficult time. Keep the good memories close to you. Love, Harriet Grand

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