OLD BRIDGE - WALTER JOHN DOWNS passed away on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge. He was 88.
Born and raised in North Plainfield, he resided in Spotswood for the past 56 years.
Prior to retiring, he was a Machinist for 40 years. Walter was blessed with an Engineering Mind. In his spare time, Walter would acquire (BMC) Minis and restore them to their former glory, including the rare Mini Pick-up. Walter was so talented that he built a vehicle from scratch in his basement and was given title for road worthiness
from the DMV. He also had a knack for upholstery refinishing in both automobiles and home furnishings.
Walter was a U.S. Navy Veteran, who served our country honorably during the Korean War and was the recipient of the Good Conduct Medal.
Walter was predeceased by his wife, Maria (2017).
He is survived by his son David Downs and his wife Sharon of Helmetta and daughter, Paula Pais of Keyport.
Arrangements are entrusted to THE BRUNSWICK MEMORIAL HOME, East Brunswick. To leave a message of condolence, please visit our "Tributes" page.
David, Sharon and Paula,
On behalf of the members of the USS BENNINGTON P.A.C.T., please accept our condolences on the passing of you father. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this most difficult time. Please know that we “thank you” for Walt’s service to God and Country during his military service aboard the BENNINGTON during the Korean War period. We would also like to let you know that in August of 2021 in Bennington , VT, at our actual ships bell monument, your dad shall be recognized along with other shipmates that passed away in 2020. Their names are read from a listing and the ships bell shall toll in their memory. With my deepest sympathy.....
Joseph Pires, USS BENNINGTON Historian
It is with much sadness to hear the passing of my dear friend Walt. As many have already shared there relationship bound my the ownership of a Mini. Walt contribution to helping me take a not so race ready Mini and build into a competitive race car. My wife Laurel and I have the distinction of knowing Walt as long as we have been married. That will be 48 years this coming November. We will always remember Walt for his friendship and unconditional help with ll things Mini. Rest in Peace my friend.
Wally was like an older brother I never had. He did the upholstery in my Mini and help with my Honda Civic race car. Many happy memories with Wally. A very talented craftsman. David , remembering our trip to Florida with Ed H. My heart goes out to you. Judy James
Walt was a Huge influence in my Mini beginnings. An engine he built for me in 1976 still powers my pickup. Spent many weekends with me helping him build my autocrosser. I would occasionally call him from here in Ohio for Mini information and advice. What a good dude!! Rest In Peace Walt!!
The airplanes that you brought to us in a paper bag ever so often will continue to hang prominently throughout our lives! They will continue to bring joy and wonder to all who enter! Your work in this shop will continue to be stories told....creating wing tip molds etc. And EVERYONE knows that you taught us to be honest business people, EXCEPT in the junk yard....where it's every man for himself!!
You will truly be missed!!! Love Dave, Lisa and The Air-Mods Crew
Wally "Hold on a Minute Boys I've Got an Idea"
Paul & Rosemary, God Love You!
Wally Reminiscing About His Days At Sea on The CV-20 Bennington
Thanks for the great memories Walt. I'm going to miss your wit and kindness. All the good times we shared on the road trips to watch Larry race. I'll never forget how you were always looking up to the sky watching and identifying every plane that flew by. It was one of the many things that added to your charm. Thank you for your service to our country. Farewell friend. Godspeed.
Walter was a good friend, was a great mechanic and had an ability to fabricate cars, airplane parts and model airplanes. His abilities were evident in the many jobs he accomplished without fanfare and with a humble nature. He will be missed. Ron Hutchins
Wilbuuuur at his best. Miss You My Friend,
My dearest friend Wilburrrr ....... Many an adventure we shared together, you were always fair, kind and understanding. A better friend no one could ever have. I know you are up there driving your mini cooper around or flying a plane like you always wanted. Hanging out drinking a Bud with you old friend Johnny Appleton, or having a sip of that double malt Scotch I bought you saying, not enough OOOOO's in Smoooth. Miss you my friend. Catch ya on the flip side. You lived a full life,
but I know what you always said "I coulda got to the grave in one piece, well preserved , but I'd rather skid in broad sliding in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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