Ronald F. “Ronnie” Downing

November 12, 2021

Ronald F. “Ronnie” Downing
U.S. Veteran

US Army

Vietnam War

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 2nd at 11 a.m. in the United Church of Christ Congregational – 6 Lexington St, Burlington, MA 01803. Burial to follow in the veterans section at Woodbrook Cemetery, Woburn. Relatives and friends are invited to pay their respects from 9-10:30, prior to the service, at the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home 263 Main St., Woburn, MA. 

** Masks will be required ** 

Ronald “Ronnie” Downing – of Woburn, passed away, November 12, 2021 at the age of 74. His battle with serious medical issues in recent years showed his courage and incredible will to live. He was loved and cherished by his family, including his wife and best friend of 40 years Carol (McSheffrey) Downing, daughters Liz Downing and Erika Scarborough, son-in-law Eric Scarborough, his grand-daughters Charlotte and Arya Scarborough. Dear brother of Joan Downing and loving brother-in-law of Charles McSheffrey, Janet McSheffrey, her husband Al Dove and David McSheffrey, his wife Jeanne. Also survived by several loving nieces, nephews and dear friends. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 2nd at 11 a.m. in the United Church of Christ Congregational – 6 Lexington St, Burlington, MA 01803. Burial to follow in the veterans section at Woodbrook Cemetery, Woburn. Relatives and friends are invited to pay their respects from 9-10:30, prior to the service, at the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home 263 Main St., Woburn, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ronnie’s memory to New England Center and Home for Veterans 17 Court St Unit 2601, Boston, MA 02108 or to Brigham and Women’s Hospital Development Office c/o Dr. David J. Kwiatkowski’s Research Fund 116 Huntington Ave. 3rd Fl., Boston, MA 02216 or call (617) 424-4321 to make a donation over the phone.

Printable Donation form: http://bwhdonate.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BWH-Print-Friendly-Form.pdf

 

With broken hearts, we announce the passing of Ronnie Downing on November 12, 2021 at the age of 74. Beloved husband of Carol (McSheffrey) Downing, devoted father of Liz Downing and Erika Scarborough, father-in-law of Eric Scarborough, and loving “Pa” of Charlotte and Arya Scarborough. Dear brother of Joan Downing, brother-in-law of Charles McSheffrey, Jan McSheffrey and her husband Al Dove, David McSheffrey and his wife Jeanne. 

Ronnie joined the Army with three buddies right after high school with the main goal of becoming a paratrooper, which he was able to accomplish. During training in Germany he was injured, which eventually resulted in the amputation of his right foot. Most people would think that this was a tragic accident, except for Ronnie, who did not allow it to slow him down. Even after his injury, he continued fishing, coached youth baseball, played ice hockey, downhill skied and was an avid golfer. For Ronnie, the glass was always half full.

Carol and Ron met in 1977 when Carol was an intern at the Woburn District Court. They both worked in the Probation Department and quickly became friends, started dating, and eventually married in 1981 – beginning their 40 year journey together. In 1985 and 1986 they were blessed with two loving daughters, Erika and Elizabeth.

Early vacations were at Squam Lake, discovered by Captain Ron and his dear friend Captain Smith. They would fish from dawn to dusk in “Downing’s Gut” where they caught many salmon. Family vacations continued at Squam Lake where the girls learned a love for fishing, boating, and nature. 

In 2013 Ronnie was given the devastating diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer. With amazing strength and determination, he beat the odds and was given the gift of nearly nine more years with his family. He was not only able to see his first granddaughter be born, but witnessed his second granddaughter enter kindergarten. He was a doting “Pa” to Charlotte and Arya, who could always count on him to have a secret stash of M&Ms to share.

These years had their challenges, but Ronnie continuously fought to regain his health with Carol at his side. They spent much of their time sitting on the front porch, sharing memories of happy times and celebrating their lives together. Their love for one another shone through the toughest of times. 

Our last trip to Squam in August 2021 was a true gift. Although Ronnie’s health was failing, the memories that the family built that week will never be forgotten. He was able to get out on the boat more times than anyone thought would be possible. He taught his grandchildren to fish off of the dock and continued the tradition of baiting his girls’ hooks. 

We would be remiss not to mention the incredible care he received at Dana Farber/ Brigham and Women’s Hospital doctors and nurses. Once he became a frequent flyer it would be common for the nursing staff to fight over who could care for Ron. He was an easy patient and his sense of humor was enjoyed by all. The Dana Farber/BWH experience made a difficult time much easier. 

Throughout Ronnie’s life he demonstrated courage and an incredible will to live. He will always be remembered as a loving husband, father, “Pa”, and friend.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 2nd at 11 a.m. in the United Church of Christ Congregational – 6 Lexington St, Burlington, MA 01803. Burial to follow in the veterans section at Woodbrook Cemetery, Woburn. Relatives and friends are invited to pay their respects from 9-10:30, prior to the service, at the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home 263 Main St., Woburn, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ronnie’s memory to New England Center and Home for Veterans 17 Court St Unit 2601, Boston, MA 02108 or to Brigham and Women’s Hospital Development Office c/o Dr. David J. Kwiatkowski’s Research Fund 116 Huntington Ave. 3rd Fl., Boston, MA 02216 or call (617) 424-4321 to make a donation over the phone.

Printable Donation form: http://bwhdonate.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BWH-Print-Friendly-Form.pdf

 

 

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, December 2nd at 11 a.m. in the United Church of Christ Congregational – 6 Lexington St, Burlington, MA 01803. Burial to follow in the veterans section at Woodbrook Cemetery, Woburn. Relatives and friends are invited to pay their respects from 9-10:30, prior to the service, at the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home 263 Main St., Woburn, MA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ronnie’s memory to New England Center and Home for Veterans 17 Court St Unit 2601, Boston, MA 02108 or to Brigham and Women’s Hospital Development Office c/o Dr. David J. Kwiatkowski’s Research Fund 116 Huntington Ave. 3rd Fl., Boston, MA 02216 or call (617) 424-4321 to make a donation over the phone.

Printable Donation form: http://bwhdonate.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BWH-Print-Friendly-Form.pdf

 

 

Guestbook

10 Entries

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  1. Dear Carol,
    Your husband’s love will never leave you.
    Memories of him will bless you always, in the everyday things,
    that still carry the tenderness of his life.

    Thinking of you,
    Sharon Simeone

  2. Dear Carol,
    So sorry for your loss. Sending our warmest thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Wishing you peace and comfort during this most difficult time.
    Paige, Jon, and Riley Pooler

  3. Tom and Roberta Killilea

    Dear Carol,
    We are so sorry to hear of Ronnie’s passing. We have been praying for him for a long time. Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you. Sending our love.

  4. Jillian Murphy Silvius

    Carol & Elizabeth & Erika…
    Heartfelt condolences. What a tremendous guy Ronnie was. I have a lot of fond memories. Let’s reminisce when we’re together again. ❤️

  5. Carol,
    So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with your whole family
    Kathy Clifford

  6. Carol and family, so sorry for your loss. He was a great, kind man. Our prayers are with you.
    Warren and Joan Messina and family

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