OBITUARY

Catherine M. Downey

May 25, 1927December 6, 2018
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Catherine M. Downey passed away Thursday, December 6, 2018 peacefully at home in Overland Park, Kansas surrounded by her loving family. Catherine was born at home in Kansas City, Kansas on May 25, 1927, one of six children to Charles L. and Lola (Ward) Callaghan. She grew up in Merriam, Kansas attending grade school right across the street from their home. After graduating from Shawnee Mission Rural High School (now SM North) in 1945, she attended Kansas State Teachers College in Pittsburg, Kansas. Her studies to be a physical education teacher were cut short when she met a young WWII veteran, Oliver Elroy "Roy" Downey, in the college library. They married on August 3, 1946 at First Baptist Church in Pittsburg, Kansas and then had their first move of many. Roy taught school in Lawrence, Kansas for two years and then returned to the Army. During subsequent years, the family lived in post war Germany, Rolla, Missouri, Ft. Knox, Kentucky and Ft. Shaffer, Hawaii. While stationed in Germany, Catherine did correspondence courses to further her college education. She also received a Kansas Driver's license- taking no test and not learning to drive until three years later in Rolla, Missouri.

When Roy served during the Korean War (1956-1958), she and the children lived in Pittsburg, Kansas. She went back to college and ended up one semester short of graduating. Wherever the family lived, she always joined, volunteered and learned. In Hawaii, it was classes in cake decorating, ceramics and playing the ukulele. Starting in 1954 as Sandi's Brownie Troop Leader; she volunteered with the Girl Scouts in several capacities, becoming a paid Girl Scout Professional in the 1970s. She even earned the "Lifetime Girl Scout Award." Joining the Officers Wives Club was always expected at duty stations, but she enjoyed the "instant" friends and social activities.

When the family "retired" in Overland Park in 1964, Catherine renewed old friendships by joining the "Merriam Homemakers" and served as president three times. She joined "Friends of the Library" volunteering in several ways but mostly with the genealogy department, as it was one of her special interests. She did extensive investigation into her "Callaghan" roots. Another group she helped with was the Johnson County Volunteer Agency; being involved with Roy's WWII unit, the 6th Armored Division, 65th Engineers took them to several states. Catherine was president of the Ladies Division when the reunion was in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tent camping all over the USA was a family activity that Catherine loved. The most ambitious trip involved 11 people, ages 9 to 62, staying in tents from Kansas to Washington to Canada to California to Home. Catherine and Roy always "saw the sights" and learned about the area wherever they lived during their 53 years of marriage.

Catherine was preceded in death by her husband, Roy; both parents; brothers, Charles, Joseph and Jerry Callaghan; one sister, Marie Owen and great grandson, John A. Downey.

She is survived by son, John E. Downey; two daughters, Sandra Pepper and husband, B. Ashley, and Cynthia Stephenson and husband, Gary; six grandchildren, David Pepper and wife, Cynthia, Mia Elizabeth Pepper, Vannessa Downey, Kimbre Manning and husband, Mike, Rachael Iden and husband, Mark Bowser, and Sarah Iden and husband, Jeremy Troupe; 8 great grandchildren, Brandon (Cassie), Dylan (Saria), Ashlyn, Robert, Trinidy (Anthony), Kaylee, Kevin and Peyton; 7 great great grandchildren, Faith, Hope, Ava, Zoey, Aaron, Emily and Aria; sister, Anna Armstrong (Charles) and sister-in-law, Jeanne Callaghan and several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Catherine was always the happiest when surrounded by loved ones, enjoying family get-togethers and celebrations.

The family would like to request memorial contributions in her name to either: The American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, Kansas City PBS or Girl Scouts of America.

Her visitation will be held 6 - 8pm, Friday, December 14 at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel. Her funeral service will be held 1pm, Saturday, December 15th at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel with burial following in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Overland Park, KS.

  • FAMILY

  • Charles L. and Lola (Ward) Callaghan, Parents
  • Charles Callaghan, Brother
  • Joseph Callaghan, Brother
  • Jerry Callaghan, Brother
  • Marie Owen, Sister
  • John A. Downey, Great Grandson
  • Oliver Elroy "Roy" Downey, Husband
  • John E. Downey, Son
  • Sandra Pepper and husband, B. Ashley, Daughter
  • Cynthia Stephenson and husband, Gary, Daughter
  • David Pepper and wife, Cynthia, Grandchild
  • Mia Elizabeth Pepper, Grandchild
  • Vannessa Downey, Grandchild
  • Kimbre Manning and husband, Mike, Grandchild
  • Rachael Iden and husband, Mark Bowser, Grandchild
  • Sarah Iden and husband, Jeremy Troupe, Grandchild
  • Catherine also leaves behind 8 great grandchildren, Brandon (Cassie), Dylan (Saria), Ashlyn, Robert, Trinidy (Anthony), Kaylee, Kevin and Peyton; 7 great great grandchildren, Faith, Hope, Ava, Zoey, Aaron, Emily and Aria; sister, Anna Armstrong (Charles) and sister-in-law, Jeanne Callaghan and several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends to cherish her memory.
  • PALLBEARERS

  • Rachael Iden, Pallbearer
  • Mia Elizabeth Pepper, Pallbearer
  • Dylan Ashley Pepper, Pallbearer
  • Jeremy Troupe, Pallbearer
  • Michael A. Manning, Pallbearer
  • Robert M. Manning, Pallbearer
  • Mark Bowser, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Brandon John Harbert, Honorary Pallbearer
  • DONATIONS

  • American Heart Association
  • American Cancer Society
  • Girl Scouts of USA
  • KCPT (Kansas PBS)

Services

  • Visitation Friday, December 14, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, December 15, 2018
  • Graveside Service Saturday, December 15, 2018
REMEMBERING

Catherine M. Downey

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Kurtis Kisker

December 12, 2018

Aunt Sandi and Family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
May His peace that passes all understanding bring you hope and comfort of everlasting joy.
Kurt, Kristi, Kayla, & Kole
Kisker

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Biography

Catherine M. Downey passed away Thursday, December 6, 2018 peacefully at hone in Overland Park, Kansas surrounded by her loving family. Catherine was born at home in Kansas City, Kansas on May 25, 1927, one of six children to Charles L. and Lola (Ward) Callaghan. She grew up in Merriam, Kansas attending grade school right across the street from their home. After graduating from Shawnee Mission Rural High School (now SM North) in 1945, she attended Kansas State Teachers College in Pittsburg, Kansas. Her studies to be a physical education teacher were cut short when she met a young WWII veteran, Oliver Elroy "Roy" Downey, in the college library. They married on August 3, 1946 at First Baptist Church in Pittsburg, Kansas and then had their first move of many. Roy taught school in Lawrence, Kansas for two years and then returned to the Army. During subsequent years, the family lived in post war Germany, Rolla, Missouri, Ft. Knox, Kentucky and Ft. Shaffer, Hawaii. While stationed in Germany, Catherine did correspondence courses to further her college education. She also received a Kansas Driver's license- taking no test and not learning to drive until three years later in Rolla, Missouri.

When Roy served during the Korean War (1956-1958), she and the children lived in Pittsburg, Kansas. She went back to college and ended up one semester short of graduating. Wherever the family lived, she always joined, volunteered and learned. In Hawaii, it was classes in cake decorating, ceramics and playing the ukulele. Starting in 1954 as Sandi's Brownie troop Leader; she volunteered with the Girl Scouts in several capacities becoming a paid Girl Scout Professional in the 1970s. She even earned the "Lifetime Girl Scout Award." Joining the Officers Wives Club was always expected at duty stations, but she enjoyed the "instant" friends and social activities.

When the family "retired" in Overland Park in 1964, Catherine renewed old friendships by joining the "Merriam Homemakers" and served as president three times. She joined "Friends of the Library" volunteering in several ways but mostly with the genealogy department, as it was one of her special interests. She did extensive investigation into her "Callaghan" roots. Another group she helped with was the Johnson County Volunteer Agency; being involved with Roy's WWII unit, the 6th Armored Division, 65th Engineers took them to several states. Catherine was president of the Ladies Division when the reunion was in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tent camping all over the USA was a family activity that Catherine loved. The most ambitious trip involved 11 people, ages 9 to 62, staying in tents from Kansas to Washington to Canada to California to back home again. Catherine and Roy always "saw the sights" and learned about the area wherever they lived during their 53 years of marriage.

Catherine was preceded in death by her husband, Roy; both parents; brothers, Charles, Joseph and Jerry Callaghan; one sister, Marie Owen and great grandson, John A. Downey.

She is survived by son, John E. Downey; two daughters, Sandra Pepper and husband, B. Ashley, and Cynthia Stephenson and husband, Gary; six grandchildren, David Pepper and wife, Cynthia, Mia Elizabeth Pepper, Vannessa Downey, Kimbre Manning and husband, Mike, Rachael Iden and husband, Mark Bowser, and Sarah Iden and husband, Jeremy Troupe; 8 great grandchildren, Brandon (Cassie), Dylan (Saria), Ashlyn, Robert, Trinidy (Anthony), Kaylee, Kevin and Peyton; 7 great great grandchildren, Faith, Hope, Ava, Zoey, Aaron, Emily and Aria; sister, Anna Armstrong (Charles) and sister-in-law, Jeanne Callaghan and several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Catherine was always the happiest when surrounded by loved ones, enjoying family get-togethers and celebrations.

The family would like to request memorial contributions in her name to either: The American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, Kansas City PBS or Girl Scouts of America.

Her visitation will be held 6 - 8pm, Friday, December 14 at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel. Her funeral service will be held 1pm, Saturday, December 15th at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel with burial following in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Overland Park, KS.