Francis “Frank” Downes was born January 28, 1937 in Jersey City New Jersey. He was raised by his father Thomas Henry and his Aunt Marguerite after the passing of his mother, Mary McCarthy Downes at his birth. He spent most of his childhood on Conduct Street in Jersey City and in Oakland, NJ. By working several jobs he was able to attend and pay for his four years at St. Peter’s High School in Jersey City, NJ. Upon Graduation from St. Peter’s he was fluent in Greek and Latin. Following his graduation, Frank joined the Air Force where he learned Russian, Chinese, French, German and Arabic making him fluent in seven different languages. He traveled the world as he served his country with the Air Force Special Forces and tracked Russian Space and Rocket flights. He saw combat and was even a prisoner of war for a short time. Frank developed a passion for traveling the world during his military years, a passion that continued throughout his life. He visited all continents at least once, except Antarctica and Australia, and visited scores of countries. Through his many experiences he was proud that he met and had lunch with Einstein numerous times and “partied” with Elvis Presley.
After returning state side, he married Catherine Grady and had three sons. Their youngest son, James “Jimmy” passed away in infancy and forever impacted Frank’s life. He became a Jersey City, NJ Police Officer in the early 60’s while he put himself through college to earn his first Bachelor’s degree in English. Frank was the consummate life time learner. Education was an utmost priority and he continued his education into all decades of his life. He went on to earn a Masters Degree from Montclair State College and his PhD from Colorado State University. A second Bachelors Degree was earned when Frank was in his fifties in order to start an entirely new career as a CPA. He was a Shakespearean Scholar and published over 100 articles.
Frank then went on to be a high school teacher. Frank moved up quickly and soon was working in the Continuing Education Department at the college level. He worked at the University of Northern Iowa, Colorado State University and then became the Dean at Western Illinois University. It was at Western Illinois University that Frank become the first person to switch a University Department from the mainframe computers to networked personal computers. A switch we now know everyone has followed. Frank started a new career in accounting getting his CPA in New Jersey and later in Colorado. Frank kept his CPA licenses in both states for many years. During this time Frank discovered he enjoyed forensic accounting during his tenure with a major law firm in Denver, Colorado. After starting his own accounting business as a taxation specialist, Frank met great success working several years as a tax accountant for a major pharmaceutical company.
Frank met his second wife, Nancy, in 1997 while living in Loveland, Colorado. During their 17 years together they traveled to Paris, Ireland, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Denmark and throughout the United States. Hiking in the mountains and spending time with family were Frank’s dearest past times in addition to being an avid reader and conducting computer research for investment opportunities.
Frank was a man who traveled the world, and loved to experience difference cultures and the Arts, especially Opera and classical music. He loved all of his families and embraced his “daughters” and grandchildren in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He was the patriarch of the Downes family and shared the stories and memoirs of those members passed to keep that legacy alive. Whether it was by his typed journal, hundreds of pictures labelled and dated, Frank embraced his families and loved every generation following. He lived his life Carpe Diem: find joy, have no regrets and experience all that could be experienced. Throughout his life into his illness, he was still found telling stories, sharing jokes and laughter with his family. As his illness overtook his memories and stories, he was surrounded by those that loved him and supported him until his last day.
His legacy will live on with every smile, with every story, with every photograph and all the new memories created. He is forever bound to our hearts and our lives. Peace At Last, Peace at last!
In lieu of flowers, Frank would be honored to have donations made to his favorite charities -
Salvation Army at http://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/ and Denver Rescue Mission at http://www.denverrescuemission.org/.