Hugh G. Downs Jr., 82, state highway engineer

April 16, 2002

Hugh G. Downs Jr., retired chief engineer with the State Highway Administration, died Friday of complications from an aneurysm at Washington County Hospital. The Hagerstown resident was 82.

In his 33-year career, Mr. Downs also was chief of the Bureau of Highway Design for the former State Roads Commission. He designed the substructure of the U.S. 50 bridge over the Severn River near Annapolis and the Potomac River Bridge at Brunswick.

In 1966, he became chief of the interstate highways division for Baltimore. He was named chief engineer of SHA in 1973 and retired six years later.

Born in Hagerstown, he was a 1937 graduate of Hagerstown High School and earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Maryland in 1941.

During World War II, he served with the Army's 40th Engineer Combat Regiment in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was later commanding officer of the 121st Engineer Combat Battalion of the Maryland National Guard.

Mr. Downs also made engineering studies that evaluated truck weight enforcement. He was a U.S. State Department consultant on highway maintenance in Haiti.

He enjoyed collecting model trains. He also played golf.

He was a member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Hagerstown.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Rest Haven Funeral Chapel in Hagerstown.

Mr. Downs is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Lorraine Rottler; a son, Norman E. Downs of Baltimore; a daughter, Tina D. Deel; and three grandchildren.

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