It is with great regret and sorrow that we have
learned and must inform you of the death of Gordon Downey. Gordon passed away on
December 15, 2009, in Scottsdale, Arizona, of pneumonia.
A memorial service will be
held in Scottsdale Friday, December 18, 9:30 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic
Church, 11300 North 64th Street in Scottsdale.
graveside service for Gordon was held at 1000 hrs, Thursday, 3 June 2010, at the
West Point Cemetery
Well done, Gordon. Be thou at
Class Memorial Pages\D-2 Gordon Downey.pdf
GORDON K. DOWNEY
Gordon Kenneth (GK) Downey, age
73, passed away on December 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.
A memorial service will be held
on Friday, December 18, at 9:30 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in
Born on August 30, 1936, GK
grew up in Dubuque and later moved to Des Moines where he attended Roosevelt
High School. In 1961, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
He served with distinction in Vietnam as a Company Commander with the 101st
Airborne Division. He subsequently returned to Des Moines, where he resided
since 1967, and founded a construction business.
GK is survived by his wife,
Sue; children Melia Griffith and her husband Joe of Scottsdale, AZ; James Downey
and Amy Hannan of Chicago, IL; Aimee Wade and her husband Richard of Prague,
Czech Republic; and three grandchildren, Eric and Austin Griffith and Genevieve
The Des Moines Register
Assembly/Taps Memorial Article:
Gordon K Downey, Jr. '61
No.23753 • 30
Aug 1936 -15 Dec 2009 • Died in Scottsdale, AZ
Interred in West Point Cemetery, West Point, NY
Kenneth "GK" Downey, Jr.
was born on 30
Aug 1936. He grew up in Dubuque, lA, and later moved to Des Moines, lA, where he
attended Roosevelt High School. After graduation he enlisted in the Army,
completed basic Infantry training, and won his airborne wings at Ft. Benning. He
was ultimately assigned to the 11th Airborne in Germany, and his interest in
West Point started when he saw a recruiting poster while serving there. He
pursued his dream, took the competitive examinations, and was admitted to the
West Point Prep School, Class of 1957. He ultimately received a congressional
appointment from the state of Oklahoma.
difficult for GK, but he persevered, as he did throughout his life. He loved
the Army and West Point and embraced the honor code. His biggest disappointment
in life was the fact that some chose to live by another code. He trusted all,
even to his detriment.
graduation, he progressed through the Infantry and Ranger schools and was
assigned to the 173rd Airborne in Okinawa. Vietnam followed, and he served with
distinction as commander of C Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry,
101st Airborne Division. GK received a number of awards and decorations for his
service in Vietnam but seldom discussed them, even with his closest family and
friends. Years later, the Veterans Administration declared him 100% disabled due
to his exposure to Agent Orange.
Back in the
United States, GK resigned from active duty in 1967. He returned to Des Moines,
where he entered the trucking business and later founded Trolex, a construction
business specializing in foam applications
and dome buildings in Iowa and Texas. He was an avid reader, particularly in
areas of military history. His other hobbies included crossword puzzles and
GK passed away
on 15 Dec 2009 at the age of 73 in Phoenix, AZ, while visiting his children and
grandchildren. He is survived by his wife Sue; children Melia Griffith and
husband Joe of Scottsdale, AZ; James Downey and Amy Hannan of Chicago, IL; Aimee
Wade and husband Richard serving with the State Department; and three
grandchildren, Eric and Austin Griffith and Genevieve Wade.
Be thou at
peace, dear husband, father, and dear friend. Thank you for a lifetime of
I will rise when He calls my name,
No more sorrow, no more pain,
I will rise on Eagle's wings.
Gordy joined our
class after spending three years in the Airborne.
A sense of humor
and an insatiable desire for his "brown boy" made him unique.
found him with a pretty little thing and always, variety.
was his haunt, and the parties there will be remembered by
all of old
" especially "Wee Willy" the rum hound.
TAPS JULY 2011