Kevin Joseph Downey
January 23, 1953 – May 7, 2020
Kevin J. Downey
January 23, 1953 - May 7, 2020
Kevin Downey, 67, of East Sandwich, died suddenly on Thursday, May 7, 2020. He was born to Edward and Mary Downey (Watson) on Jan. 23, 1953 in Norwood and grew up in the Islington section of Westwood.
Kevin attended Xaverian Brothers and Westwood High School. In 1974, he graduated from Providence College, where he ran track for the Friars. While studying in Rhode Island, he met the love of his life, MaryEllen Martens of New Haven (Providence ’76), whom he would go on to marry in 1979. For 38 years, their partnership was the bedrock of a growing family until her passing on Aug. 8, 2017 and remained so in the years since she departed. Kevin was at her side every day as she battled a prolonged illness.
While in college, he spent his junior year abroad in Switzerland. He regaled his family with stories of his travels with his classmates and friends, including a hitchhiking race to the French Riviera and a train ride behind lines in the eastern bloc.
He moved his family to rural New Jersey in 1983 shortly after he began a 31-year career as National Sales Manager for M&M Mars. He devoted himself to the candy business and, with his fastidious nature, meticulous approach and work ethic, he established himself as a force in the industry, eventually being honored and named to the Mars Tie & Scarf Club. When he retired from Mars, he enjoyed sharing stories about his days with the company and the many friends he made along the way. His family has been comforted in meaningful ways by these people important to his life in recent days.
He imparted on his children a love of Boston sports. While living in New Jersey, he became a Patriots season-ticket holder, long before doing so was a routinely rewarding pursuit. He loved the Red Sox and brought his family through thick and thin with the Bruins. He loved the old Boston Garden and planned to share the majesty of Fenway Park with his granddaughter, Grace. Deep down, he wished his kids loved the Celtics as much as he did.
In recent years, on Sundays, he visited the bench dedicated to MaryEllen’s memory in the Talbot Conservation lands with Bandit, the family dog, whom he loved.
Kevin was loved everywhere he went, including in the hockey communities of New England and the mid-Atlantic. His laugh is emblazoned in the memories of two generations of youth hockey players from Morristown to Mississauga and everywhere between, particularly how it echoed through the catacombs and rafters of impossibly cold rinks. A five-hour, same-night winter round trip to the Berkshires or Pomfret was standard procedure when it meant getting his kids’ skates sharpened by a friend on the Cape he trusted to do them just right. Later, the east-west trek from Brunswick to Middlebury was no match for his unending drive to watch his children play hockey. When the White and Green Mountains stood between him and the next game, he just went around them. Kevin and MaryEllen logged hundreds of thousands of miles on their Jeeps to see their kids play. In recent years, Kevin made trips to Europe to watch his son, Colin, play in the French Ligue Magnus.
Kevin’s reputation in the hockey world was a distinction earned over decades, partly because he was a student of the game, but mostly because everyone liked him and because he was there for the right reasons. He coached all of his kids and started the women’s program at Sandwich High School before women’s hockey was standard. Just recently, he had been certified to become a referee.
He was endlessly proud of his sons, daughter, daughter-in-law and his young granddaughter, all of whom survive him: Sean and his wife, Julie, and their daughter, Grace, of Washington, D.C.; Colin of Mulhouse, France; and Molly of Minneapolis. He is also survived by his sister, Jane Carter, and her husband, Joe Carter of Westwood.
A celebration of Kevin’s life will be announced at a later date.
Services are private
Kevin Joseph Downey
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May 19, 2020
My deepest condolences to Kevin’s family and friends. Kevin and I worked together in Sales at Mars. Always smiling, positive attitude with that great laugh - that’s what we all loved and admired about him. A dedicated family man and a dedicated colleague. He truly was special!
May 19, 2020
My condolences to the Downey family. Sad news for all that knew Kevin, but we are better people for having known him. Sharp wit, humorous, and his punchline was the laugh, whether the joke was good or bad. We all laughed with him. We worked in National Accounts together at M&M/Mars. He was the consummate professional and company man. We both retired from Mars and stayed in touch by phone. Talked a lot of Boston sports and about the old days. Me from the North Shore, and Kevin from the South Shore, we had a lot to talk about. The photo is from a trade event in LA, 1991. Can't miss Kevin in the back row. Will miss you my friend. God bless you.
May 19, 2020
I am so sorry and shocked to learn of Kevin's passing. I worked with Kevin for many years at Mars. At one point he was my manager and I'll never forget his RED pen - editing my emails and notes ensuring my grammar was correct! Such a wonderful and loving man. His family was always came first. I will never forget all of the memories with Kevin. He's in heaven now with Maryellen. Rest in Peace! Your friend, Maryann
May 18, 2020
My condolences, thoughts and prayers to all❤️ I worked with Kevin for many years at Mars. Kevin always had a:smile on his face and was always willing to help in any way. I looked to Kevin as a mentor, he always had a patient way of listening and always offered the best advice. He truly was an awesome associate and friend and I know he will live on in all of you❤️
May 17, 2020
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o Sean Downey – my 2nd cousin, Sean, was a renowned Irish accordionist and my nephew is Sean (BTW, I do not hold it against you that you attended Bowdoin, my alma mater’s bitter rival!)
o Kevin Downey – my oldest son is Kevin
o Mary Ellen Downey – my sister-in-law is Mary Ellen
• We are both sticklers for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar
o Kevin and I used to e-mail each other when we found typos in company publications, or point them out in person when we worked in the National Office together – we had some good laughs. And watch out if either of us caught the other with a typo!
Lastly, here are some thoughts that come to mind about your dad:
• He is the definition of a family man – talked proudly and often about each of you and your mom
• Hard worker focused on results – he got the job done and had some fun doing it!
• Great sense of humor and accompanying laughs, of which we had many
• Fabulous memory. As an example, in the past couple of years when we worked at Acosta together we would randomly call out a M&M/Mars display fixture item number from some 30 years ago and the other would name it, all while laughing like schoolkids.
• His white Jeep w/ several hundred thousand miles (??) on it and constant mechanical problems. He was going to drive that thing until it literally turned to dust!
• His love of hockey and all things Boston sports
• His willingness to share his extensive business knowledge and experience with anyone who he worked with, in a helpful, humble way.
Sincerely, Mark McGlynn
May 17, 2020
Colin, Molly, Sean and extended family, in your time of sorrow I want to share some memories of your dad in hopes that several of them will bring knowing smiles to your faces and perhaps generate some new ones.
I have known your dad for some 38 years, beginning with the day he interviewed me for a sales position with M&M/Mars at the Marriott in Newton, MA. That interview led to my being hired by Mars in May 1982. His style and enthusiasm for the company let me know that was the place I wanted to work. It also led to some amazing parallels in our lives and careers:
• We both went to college and became History teachers
• We left the world of Education to pursue careers in the CPG industry
• Both of us held some of the same positions while w/ M&M/Mars
o worked in the same New England District although at different times
o Sales Representative
o Key Account Manager
o Sales Training Manager
o Promotions Manager
• When your dad was managing the CVS account, I managed a Customer Service/Logistics team that supported his National Accounts team. He was a pleasure to work with: proactive, inquisitive, creative and always delivered on his promises
• Worked together most recently at Acosta on the CVS business. Your dad connected me with his boss when they had an opening and I know that Kevin’s endorsement contributed to my ultimately getting hired and us working together again
• Both of us are huge Boston sports fans who indoctrinated our children into the world of the Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots – before it was fashionable to be a Boston sports fan and while not even living in New England
• Suffered in pain when we lived in New Jersey while the hated Yankees were winning all those World Series in the 90’s; we used to get harassed, however, we gave it right back with typical New England humor and sarcasm
• Share many names among our families
o Molly Downey – my favorite Aunt growing up was Aunt Molly
o Colin Downey – my 2nd child is Colin
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May 16, 2020
I worked with Kevin for many years at Mars. He was one of my favorite people at Mars and I always appreciated his friendship. He was a class act with a great sense of humor. We had so many great times and laughs. I am thankful that he impacted my life.
I am deeply saddened and I know many of his Mars friends are feeling the same. My deepest condolences to each of you and the entire family.
Nancy (Shepperson) Junkert
May 16, 2020
So saddened to hear this news. As high school friends with his sister, Jane, I remember his smile and kindness, and he was always looking out for his sister. Praying for the family to receive God’s comfort.
John DeSimone Jr
May 15, 2020
Sean, Colin and Molly. I was honored to be Kevin's friend and to enjoy our morning coffee talks where we shared either the weekend or weeks events. The one thing about Kevin was he indeed lit up the room with his personality and our talks of his children's accomplishments. I enjoyed every minute of those stories and adventures he shared. I feel we became closer after he left our team to join another in the business and looked forward to speaking with him often on the phone or seeing him on the Cape.
I can't find the words to describe how I feel after my wife and I found out he was taken from us. Thank you for treating my wife and I like family and sharing these past few days together. My wife and I consider all three of you as family and look forward to meeting you all when we gather to celebrate his life.
Love John & Kelly DeSimone
May 15, 2020
Molly, Colin, Sean,
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with your dad in the CVS Acosta team. I'm so sorry for you loss, he had an incredible personality! I'm so sadden by his loss, I can't imagine what you are all going thru! I pray time will heal the pain and you find strength to get thru these tough times. His cheerful self, lighting up the room when he walked into the office and his laugh will be missed! He would ask me to show him how to work something on the computer and he would say clicking lessons Nach! Loved his sense of humor...
With deepest Sympathy,
May 14, 2020
I am so sorry to hear about Kevin’s passing. I was close friends with Jane growing up, living just 4 houses away. I know first-hand how hard it is to lose a parent at such a young age. My dad was just 58, and I still miss him.
I knew MaryEllen, and attended their wedding, and remembered when Sean was born. They were a wonderful couple.
I hope you find solace, as I did, in the coming months and years, that it was a gift to be blessed with loving parents. I hope you find comfort in the family that remains and strength in your faith.
May 14, 2020
Kevin and I worked together at Acosta in the Lincoln, RI office. We both shared a passion for hockey and would start the day with a recap of the games the night before. He talked about all his children with pride and their hockey exploits. At that time I was coaching my high school son and he'd always ask me about a game or a practice the night before... We also often talked Friar hockey as he was a graduate of PC and I was and am to this day their hockey official scorer. I guess you can see we always had allot of hockey to talk about. However, on the serious side I remember when we first discussed his wife's illness I could feel his hurt as his eyes moistened. He would have traded places with her if he could have. I understood it full well as I had lost my mother in similar fashion. I feel blessed to have spent those years with Kevin in that office. I was deeply saddened when I received the news of his passing. He was certainly a genuine person and a good man!
My Deepest condolences to the family. Rest in Peace my friend!
May 14, 2020
While I met Kevin only once while in France, where Colin played hockey and his teammate was a friend of mine, we still kept in touch. He always remembered to ask how am I, congratulate on birthdays and ask when will I come to USA. I am really sorry I didn’t make it in time! I send my deepest condolences to Kevin’s family and will light a candle in his memory 🙏 Rest in Peace 🙏❤️
May 14, 2020
We are profoundly sadden that the Downey family lost their father. We are sending condolences to all but especially hugs and prayers to Sean, Julie and Gracie. Love you guys
Uncle Rich and Aunt Ro
May 14, 2020
Sean, Colin, Julie, Grace and Molly, I was very close friends with MaryEllen, Kevin's wife, and through that relationship I met and learned to admire Kevin. Kevin's laugh was contagious and he laughed a lot - it was so very hard to watch him go through the very tragic loss of MaryEllen. He was a loving father, friend and colleague I am sure to many. I am so very sorry for your loss.
With my warmest wishes, Tina Harkin