For the Kokomo Tribune
Boyertown, Pa. —
Rita S. Downey, 90, Kokomo, died at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, at Chestnut Knoll in Boyertown, Pa. She was born April 21, 1922, in Rushville, the daughter of Claude Frances “Dick”and Iva (Orem) Smith.
She attended schools in Rushville, and was a 1940 graduate of Rushville High School. She attended both Ball State and Indiana State Universities, receiving her bachelor of science degree from Indiana State and her master’s degree from Ball State. She also did graduate work at Butler University and Indiana University in Kokomo.
Rita began her teaching career at Milroy Schools, where she met her husband to be, the late Robert K. Downey, whom she married in 1947. After teaching in northern Indiana, they moved back to Rush County and taught at Raleigh High School until its closing. From there they moved to Kokomo, where she first taught at Western High School. Her sons, Robert K. Downey Jr., Rochester, and Jonathan Eric Downey, Pottstown, Pa., were born while she was on hiatus from teaching. She returned to teaching at Kokomo High School, where she remained until Haworth High School opened. She taught business at Haworth until two years after Haworth became Kokomo High School.
Rita was a member of Colonial Dames, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Indiana State Teacher’s Association. For many years she spent her summers at her summer home on Lake Freeman near Monticello.
She is survived by her sons, Robert K. Downey Jr. and Jonathan E. Downey; nephew, Dr. E. Crosby Tompkins; two grandsons, Jeremy and Dylan Downey; daughter-in-law, Patricia Downey; four great nieces; and two great-great-nieces.
Rita was preceded in death by a sister, Jean (Mrs. Charles Tompkins); and a nephew, Mark Tompkins.
A memorial service celebrating Rita’s life will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Shirley & Stout Funeral Home & Crematory, 1315 W. Lincoln Rd. Friends may call on the family from 2 p.m. until service time Friday at the funeral home. Committal services will be 10 a.m. Saturday at the East Hill Shrine Mausoleum in Rushville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions in Rita’s name be sent to Special Olympics of Indiana, 6100 W. 96th St., Suite 270, Indianapolis, IN 46278; the Alzheimer’s Association of Indiana, 50 E. 91st St., Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46209-4830; or the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1105, Kokomo, IN 46903-1105. Messages of condolence may be left online at www.shirleyandstout.com.