Burns Downey, 98

Decorated WWII veteran, pilot

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Burns Price Downey, 98, of Lombard, formerly of Oak Park, died on Oct. 23, 2019. Born in Oblong, Illinois on Sept. 19, 1921, he was the youngest of John and Lucy A. (nee Garwood) Downey's seven children. He graduated in 1940 from Oblong High School, where he played football, displayed musical talent, and excelled scholastically. He attended the Aeronautical University of Chicago and graduated in 1941. That December, he joined the Army Air Corps and served until 1945. During WWII, he flew 50 missions throughout the Solomon Islands where his plane was shot down, and his crew had to make a water landing. Everyone survived, but he was injured. After recuperating, he continued flying and was shot down again, landing this time in the jungle. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and several Bronze Stars. 

Burns and Marjorie married on Jan. 9, 1943 and were together 73 years until her death. After the war, he was hired by United Airlines and flew for them for 36 years. In retirement, he joined Forest Agency and sold airplane insurance. He had his own plane and loved traveling the world with his wife. 

Burns Downey was the husband of the late Marjorie F. Downey (nee Biggs); the father of Zannetta (the late John) Todoric, Glenn, and the late Rebecca (Tony) Kinert; the grandfather of Paul (Mary) Todoric and Daun (John) Dertinger, Michael Kinert, Aimee (Mark) Jepsen, Kellie Kinert and Kevin Kinert; and the great-grandfather of Kara and Brian Todoric and Matthew, Kaitlyn and Annaka Jepsen. 

A Memorial Service will be held at Beacon Hill, 2400 S. Finley Road in Lombard on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m., followed by private interment. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to Peace Hospice or to a charity of your choice are appreciated. 

Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

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