Terry O. Downer

February 9, 1955June 1, 2013

Terry O. Downer, an insurance company claims adjuster and world traveler, died Saturday from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.The Towson resident was 58.

Born in Baltimore to a single mother, Terry O'Neal Downer was raised at the old Lexington Terrace public housing high-rise that was later demolished.

Mr. Downer received a full scholarship to McDonogh School, but transportation difficulties forced him to leave and enroll at Northwestern High School, from which he graduated in 1973. He enrolled at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, from which he earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1977. While a student at UMBC, he met and fell in love with the former Pamela Joette Thompson, whom he married in 1979. He enrolled in the master's in business program at the University of Maryland at night, while working as a counselor at Marian House for battered women and as a drug counselor.

In 1982, his son, Ryan Chasce Downer, was born, and four months later Mr. Downer's wife was stricken with an aneurysm and died. Faced with being a single parent, Mr. Downer withdrew from the University of Maryland and went to work full time as an insurance claims adjuster for the Traveler's Insurance Co., where he continued working until his death.

Mr. Downer, worried about the deterioration of the city's Pimlico neighborhood, moved to Towson with his son. Acutely aware of the advantages he lacked growing up, Mr. Downer worked tirelessly so that his son could attend parochial schools and later the Park School, from which he graduated. When his son was accepted at Harvard University, he took out a second mortgage on his home, said his son, who is now a Washington lawyer.

Mr. Downer and his son traveled all over the world together and had visited Brussels, Amsterdam, Cyprus and Brazil. He enjoyed gardening — especially roses — and maintaining his koi pond.

In addition to his son, Mr. Downer is survived by his mother, Della Downer of Baltimore; six brothers, James Downer, Tony Downer, Alan Downer, Victor Downer, Spencer Downer, all of Baltimore, and Barry Downer of Atlanta; and a sister, Sharon Downer of Baltimore.

The family will receive friends in the LEMMON FUNERAL HOME OF DULANEY VALLEY INC. 10 W. Padonia Road, Timonium, MD 21093 on Saturday, June 8th, 12noon to 1pm at which time a Celebration of Terry's Life will begin. Interment Private. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be directed in Terry's memory to ALS Association - DC/MD/VA Chapter, 7507 Standish Place Rockville, MD 20855 &/or Life Chronicles, 113 W. Mission Street, Suite B2, Santa Barbara, CA 93101



  • Memorial Gathering Saturday, June 8, 2013
  • Celebration Of Life Saturday, June 8, 2013


  • Interment

Terry O. Downer

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Melba (DeShields) Holmes

July 9, 2013

My condolences to the Downer family. Wow...I am totally shocked to just now learn about Terry's death and it was quite by accident. I just recently joined FB and was searching for some info on Northwestern's page when I came across the obituary of Terry. Chasce you don't know me, but I know when you were born. I knew your mother Pam also! Your father helped me & my husband at the time (Donnell Epps- one of his best childhood friends up until adulthood) after your mother died because I too had a brain aneurysm at the age of 35. Your father helped me & Donnell through this & to understand my ailment. I thanked GOD for him for being there for us & being a true friend! I hadn't seen him since you were a toddler & Donnell & I had divorced, but always cherished Terry as a friend! It is very ironic that I suffered the same thing that your mom unfortunately perished from and I understand what your dad went through as I too lost my brother in 2007 to this same disease (ALS) at the age of 61. Chasce as I read about you I see that you are a very intelligent & accomplished young man and I know that both your parents were very proud of you & are watching over you from heaven! I wish I had been able to see Terry again before his death & also wish I had known once he passed away. God bless you and your family.
My prayers are with you!

Melba (DeShields) Holmes
(he knew me as Epps)

Deb Hannon

July 1, 2013

Chasce - I am so, so sad to hear that your Dad passed on. I will miss him very much. I worked very closely with your Dad for 22 years. However, we were friends most of all. I met you when you were 8 years old, so you probably don't remember. However, I enjoyed hearing about you over the years. Your Dad adored you and was so proud of you. I will keep you in my prayers. Deb Hannon

Roxanne Cotton

June 13, 2013

My deepest sympathy to the Downer family! I had not seen or spoke with Terry in years! I remember the Lexington Terrace days (Saratoga Street@ Fremont! Terry, my cousin and I attended PS#19 together! He will truly be missed, but always remembered.
Sincerely, Roxanne (nee-Watson) Cotton

Michael Turner

June 12, 2013

I worked with Terry at the Blakehurst Retirement Community for a number of years. He was always pleasant, and always thoughtful. A joy to be around and to communicate with. He always talked about his family.

Laura Zaharris

June 11, 2013

I worked with Terry at Travelers on a mutual account for several years. Even though we didn't work in the same office, I felt like we became good friends over the years. I enjoyed speaking with him regularly and seeing him every year at the annual meeting. He had a kind, gentle spirit that was so comforting. I was truly sad to hear about his passing and he will be missed greatly.

June 10, 2013

To Terry's family & Friends,

I would like to offer my sincerest Condolences on the passing of Terry.
I will always cherish the good memories of him and his kind and gentle spirit. The world has lost a good person who will be missed by all.

RIP Terry

Your Friend
Steven Riley
Upper Marlboro MD

Michael Cooper

June 8, 2013

Ryan, I met you and your father back in 1995. I will never forget his kind and gentle spirit. I am so sorry for your loss. May peace be with you and your family.

Karen E. Sutton

June 8, 2013

My deepest sympathy to Mr. Downer's family from a fellow Wildcat, and a former Retriever. He will be greatly missed.

Ronald Harriott

June 8, 2013

I too had the pleasure of working with Terry at Travelers and am saddened with his passing. Terry was easy going, expressive, frank and gregarious; a socially dexterous individual. At the same time, he took no mess from anyone. He handled his business well. I admired those qualities in him. Now, while Terry will be absent from our presence, he has left indelible impressions on our hearts and minds. Our individual and mutual memories of him will endure. So, whether it is his broad smile, laughter, steady gait, sartorial style, words of advice, kind act or warm demeanor, each of us have our personal recollections – his gift to us, that preserves the essence of Terry. Chasce, family members, relatives and grieving friends, I pray God's special peace to you all.

Yvonne Galloway

June 8, 2013


Although I did not have the honor of meeting your Dad, I can tell he was an extraordinary man and will be missed. His light will always shine through you. My sincere condolences for your loss.