Madeline R. Downing, secretary, homemaker

March 13, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Madeline R. Downing, a retired secretary and former longtime College Park resident, died March 3 at Maryland Shock Trauma Center of injuries suffered in a Howard County automobile accident.

The Charlestown retirement community resident was 90.

Madeline Redmond, the daughter of a farmer and a schoolteacher, was born and raised in Montpelier, Vt., where she graduated in 1936 from St. Michael's High School.

After passing the civil service examination, Mrs. Downing moved to Washington and went to work for the old War Department before World War II.

In 1943, she married Matthew Patrick Downing, who was serving in the Army. After the war, the couple settled in Washington. They moved in 1951 to College Park.

After raising her six children, Mrs. Downing returned to work as a secretary for several years at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in College Park.

Mrs. Downing's husband, who had been an accountant with the old Interstate Commerce Commission, died in 1990.

Since 2000, Mrs. Downing had lived at the Catonsville retirement community.

She was an avid bridge player and had enjoyed an afternoon of cards with her two traveling companions before she was injured in the accident after the car's driver went through a red light at U.S. 29 and Interstate 70.

Mrs. Downing was a member of the Hibernians.

"She lived through a lot of history, changed with the times and brought up a large family all of whom loved her," said a daughter, Sister Margaret Downing, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, who lives in Baltimore. "She celebrated her 90th birthday in June, with the kind of party everyone should have the year before they die."

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Monday at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Charlestown.

Also surviving are two sons, John Downing of Derwood, Montgomery County, and Michael Downing of Clarksville; three other daughters, Patricia Molineaux of Cheverly, Rosemary Downing of Alexandria, Va., and Carol Downing of Beltsville; two sisters, Catherine Carpenter of Burlington, Vt., and Jean Hart of Montpelier; nine grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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