Raymond Downey

September 12, 2001

Hundreds of New York City firefighters and police officers were believed dead following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, including the confirmed deaths of several high-ranking officers, a chaplain and a nationally known chief of rescue operations that led a team of New York firefighters to Oklahoma City in 1995 in the aftermath of the bombing of a federal building.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced the deaths of the firefighters at a news conference last night, saying he recently held a party to honor Ray Downey, chief of special operations command, who was in charge of the Oklahoma contingent. Also killed were First Deputy Commissioner William Feehan and Peter Ganci, chief of the department.

Awarded the moniker "God" by fellow firefighters who revered him for his lifesaving skills, Downey directed the emergency efforts after the bombings in Oklahoma City, and at the World Trade Center in 1993, as well as after hurricanes in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. He was at the scene yesterday, as usual, when the towers collapsed.

"We really don't know," said his distraught daughter Kathy Ugalde, who had gathered in a vigil at her parents' home with 30 friends and family, clinging to prayers he might yet be recovered from the rubble. Downey's sons Joseph and Charles, also city firefighters, were on the job last night hoping they might help find him.

Ugalde said Charles Downey, a lieutenant, had spoken with a firefighter who had been talking with Downey when the first tower collapsed and seen him survive it.

"Then the second building went down, and the guy said he saw my father running, and that's the last thing they knew," Ugalde said. "My brother [Charles] called and said, 'We're going to get him Mom, we're going to get him, we know where he is,'" Kathy Ugalde said. But unstable buildings in the area have stalled rescue efforts. "They're dying to get in there and find him," she said.

Just last month, Downey was honored by Giuliani at Gracie Mansion with a dinner for 100 and presented with a crystal apple in recognition of his contributions to the city.

Downey's other son Joseph found out about his father's nickname after joining the department, when fellow firefighters kept teasingly calling him 'Jesus.'

"It's ironic, he's an expert in collapses and now he's in one," Ugalde said. "I just feel like my dad saved so many people this way, I just want someone to save him. I just think he deserves it."
Copyright 2001, Newsday, Inc.


September 13, 2001

Capt. Raymond Downey, known nationally for developing innovative rescue techniques, was also missing. He led a team from New York sent to help after the federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed.
Excerpt from Newsday


A Legend's Family Keeps Hope for Him Alive

By Elizabeth Moore

September 13, 2001

Among the elite rescue firefighters who served under him, Ray Downey was held in awe for his uncanny ability to arrive at a major disaster and size up the mayhem with little more than a glance. In a quiet voice, with no discussion, he would start doling out instructions and assignments and call for equipment no one had thought of. Somehow, miraculously, the chaos would transform itself into a smooth and orderly rescue operation.

That's why his fellow New York City firefighters called him "God." And one of the reasons his family believes the mayor of New York and leading media organizations spoke too soon when they listed him as dead.

While CNN and The Associated Press ran stories yesterday listing the nationally renowned special operations chief as killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center, his two firefighter sons searched the rubble in hopes of finding him alive. The rest of his family lobbied their congressman, led prayers in church and called newspapers to keep him on the list of the living.

"My father is not dead," his third son, teacher Ray Downey, insisted early yesterday morning, after reading the morning papers. "They have not found him. People are going to stop praying for him. He's still in there. We're still praying, and I still want everyone else to pray."

The Twin Towers fell down over and over on the big TV screen in his daughter Marie Tortorici's Deer Park living room yesterday morning as friends and family milled in and out of the house, waiting for word from her brothers Chuck and Joe Downey. Chuck, a fire lieutenant, and Joe, a captain, were following up on tips from firefighters who thought they were the last to see him alive. So far, none of the sightings had panned out.

But the reports have given the family hope, another daughter, Kathy Ugalde, said Tuesday night, recalling one promising lead from a firefighter who had seen Downey running from the billowing dust of the falling second tower.

Ugalde said Chuck called her mother, Rosalie, and said, "We're going to get him, Mom, we're going to get him. We know where he is."

But a few hours later, the family was taken by surprise when Giuliani held a televised press conference listing Downey among the dead. Ray Downey had just phoned a reporter to say his father might still be alive. "My brother went to two morgues and it was not him, so there is still hope he's under the rubble, breathing." New York City firefighters know they are viewed as the nation's toughest, but they drop their swagger when Downey's name is mentioned. The operations chief led an FDNY emergency rescue team to Oklahoma City and directed recovery work after the first bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993.

He was honored by the mayor at a dinner at Gracie Mansion just last month. Friends say he planned to retire next year at age 64. After years as captain of the busiest rescue squad in Brooklyn, Downey helped pioneer a national network of eight search and rescue teams under the federal Emergency Management Agency. Many of the members of the eight FEMA teams now searching for him were his trainees. And in his spare time, he traveled across the country preaching the need to prepare for terrorism, said Hal Bruno, chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

"The general consensus in the current atmosphere is that the next war we fight will be in an urban area," Downey told Newsday in 1997.

Downey also helped teach some of his techniques to senior commanders of the Marine Corps and the Navy, running combat scenarios in high-rise buildings and sewers, some of them in the trade center neighborhood, in 1997.

"It's ironic, he's an expert in collapses and now he's in one," Ugalde said Tuesday night. "I just feel like my dad saved so many people this way, I just want someone to save him."

Ugalde said her brother Joe learned his father's nickname after joining the department, when fellow firefighters kept teasingly calling him "Jesus."

But by yesterday morning, after seven members of Joe Downey's squad were lost and his father remained missing, the religious kidding turned into real novenas and a stubborn refusal to lose faith.

Giuliani's announcement was "a miscommunication," Ugalde said, as she stood on the driveway outside the Deer Park high ranch she shared with her parents. A few feet away on the lawn, a handpainted wooden sign promised "Grandma and Grandpa: Hugs and Kisses. Sleepovers. Milk and Cookies." An American flag was planted on the other side of the driveway.

As Ugalde talked, her daughter, Gina, chimed in that she had been facing a similar miscommunication problem at John F. Kennedy Intermediate School in Deer Park. She said her third-grade class was summoned to an assembly at which her grandfather's name was mentioned as among those killed in the attack.

"I told them it wasn't true," she said, fingering the two rosaries her mother had given her that morning.

"He's not dead!" repeated a woman serving at the 12:15 Mass at St. Cyril and St. Methodius Roman Catholic Church, where the firefighter's family joined with 150 other congregants to pray for him and others missing in the attack.

U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) picked up the mantra yesterday evening after receiving two calls from the family. He went to the floor of Congress to insist that it was too early to pronounce Ray Downey dead. Israel said a Downey family member told him that Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating called yesterday to convey his condolences, but the family asked for his prayers instead.

As the hours ground on last night, there still was no good news for the Downey family.

"Nothing yet," Tortorici said as she waited by the phone.
Copyright 2001, Newsday, Inc.


A first responder's wisdom

September 17, 2001

Among the missing in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers is a man known among New York City firefighters as "God," Raymond Downey, chief of special operations and a nationally recognized expert in rescue.

Downey - who was on the scene in the World Trade Center immediately after the terrorist bombing in 1993 - had been a booming voice for the modernization of rescue and recovery units by local departments, the "first responders" across the country.

Three years ago, he appeared before a congressional committee and warned of the nation's lack of preparedness for weapons of mass destruction. He dared to imagine the unspeakable, a threat many Americans might have dismissed until Tuesday: Not jumbo jets turned into human-guided missiles, but chemicals weapons.

What would have happened, Downey asked the committee, had the 50,000 occupants of the World Trade Center complex been exposed to deadly chemicals?

"Not a fire department in the United States could have handled an incident involving a chemical agent affecting this many victims," he said. "Why? Lack of sufficient funding and training for weapons of mass destruction.

"What would happen if it occurred today? Would we be prepared? Some fire departments have increased their capabilities, but the majority of the country is still not prepared for these type of incidents."

Downey asked Congress to involve "first responders" with federal agencies that have been preparing for terrorism.

He said, "The federal government needs to provide assistance and funding for training, detection equipment, personal protective equipment and mass decontamination capabilities. It is the first responder that will be facing the challenges that weapons of mass destruction present. They are the ones that need the funding and assistance the federal government can provide."

Downey, of course, was the chief of first responders, and that's why he's missing.
Dan Rodricks
Copyright 2001, The Baltimore Sun


Firefighter to the Core

October 22, 2001

Raymond M. Downey was the battalion chief in charge of special operations in the New York City Fire Department. Here's his son, Chuck, a fire lieutenant: "Dad joined the Fire Department on April 7, 1962. Coming on in the 60's, they went to a lot of fires. The war years, they termed it. In 1995 he was assigned to Special Operations Command, SOC is the acronym, as chief of rescue operations. . . . "He was on the Gilmore Commission to fight domestic terrorism. No one's going to see it all, but I don't think anyone thought of the World Trade Center. . . . "When the south tower went down, there was a lot of Maydays. He survived. A lot of the top brass did. These are all guys with 30- plus years. They went back in. There were two young firemen, he told them, not in the nicest language, to get out of here."

Here's Chief Downey's daughter, Marie Tortorici: "Mommy, Rosalie, is Italian. Daddy's Irish. He would have been 64 on Sept. 19. He's very spiritual. He was in Oklahoma City after the bombing. Gov. Keating gave him a set of rosary beads. He wore them every day. Well, they broke, and he kept them in his pocket. He had them with him, because they're not home. . . . "When I was a little girl, he was working three jobs to support the family, and he was always too busy to come to the school to do fire prevention week. Last year, when my daughter was in first grade, he went to the school for fire prevention week. I don't know. It's so sad, everything. But a good thing came out of this. My sister, my father called her the baby, we just found out she's pregnant. So she felt like it was a blessing from my father."


November 15, 2001

The children of Elizabeth Place and Oak Neck Road in West Islip recently helped raise over \\$500 to aid the families of the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist bombing. The money was matched by the Bradco Supply Corporation and donated to the American Red Cross in memory of Deer Park resident Deputy Chief Ray Downey of Special Operations command, FDNY and his fellow rescue workers who gave their lives to help others in the World Trade Center Disaster. Pictured are Michelle and Jim Hill, Lynn Downey and some of the neighborhood children who helped raise the money. The Babylon Beacon


Roads Renamed After Firefighters

By Sumathi Reddy

November 26, 2001

He was a runner, his red Rescue 2 sweatshirt and blue marine sweatpants a blur of color as he jogged along the streets of Deer Park.

Even at the age of 63, Raymond Downey stuck to his regimen, running five miles a day along the serene and the trafficked roads of Deer Park.

"Everyone used to see my dad run all over Deer Park," said Ray Downey Jr. His father, a special operations battalion chief for the New York City Fire Department, was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. "He would wave to them. He's been running there for 40 years."

Downey's three sons and two daughters thought renaming a Deer Park road in memory of their father, a man widely known for leading New York City's search-and-rescue team in Oklahoma City after the bombing of the federal building in 1995, would be most fitting.

The family approached Babylon Town Board member Francine Brown with their idea. Meanwhile, friends of Michael Otten, another city firefighter killed in the attacks and a former Deer Park resident, had the same idea.

Brown introduced the resolutions earlier this month, and the town board unanimously voted to rename two streets in Deer Park in memory of Otten and Downey.

Nicolls Road in Deer Park is expected to become "Raymond Downey Memorial Road," and Headline Road will be renamed "Michael Otten Memorial Road." The original resolution called for renaming Oak Street in Deer Park, but Downey's family members later requested the more heavily traveled Nicolls Road, from Deer Park Avenue to Commack Road. Town Board members say they will amend the resolution.

It's a simple but meaningful gesture in a time when government leaders say they are trying to preserve the memories and honor the victims of Sept. 11 in any way they can, Brown said.

Similar renaming measures will likely take place across the city and country. Earlier this month the New York City Council passed a bill to rename a stretch of West 31st Street in Manhattan after the Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the Fire Department's popular Catholic chaplain who was killed by falling debris while administering last rites to a dying firefighter.

Otten, a 42-year-old firefighter for Ladder 35 in Manhattan, will be memorialized on the street where he lived from age 2 until he got married and moved to East Islip. It's a street where Otten and his friends, "The Headline Boys," spent lazy summer afternoons playing ball and hanging out, recalled his mother, Teresa Otten, who still lives on the street.

"He had a lot of happy times on this block," Teresa Otten said. "A lot of his friends lived on Headline Road."

And a lot of the same neighbors who lived on Headline Road 40 years ago and knew her son growing up still make it their home, as well as one of Otten's sisters, who lives three blocks from the family home.

"It's an honor," Teresa Otten said. "I'm very proud."
Copyright 2001, Newsday, Inc.


December 13. 2001

DOWNEY-Raymond. Of Deer Park, LI, FDNY-Deputy Chief of Special Operations Command, heroically in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a week before his 64th birthday. Beloved husband of Rosalie (nee Princiotta). Loving and adored father of Joseph and Lynn, Marie and Girolamo Tortorici, Chuck and Melissa, Ray and Christine, Kathy and Brian Ugalde. Cherishd poppy of Gina Marie, Nicolette Rose, Peter Raymond, Joseph James, Connor Joseph, Olivia Faith and Kayla Rae. A dear brother to Eugene, Thomas and the late Joseph and Alice Routledge. Dear brother-in-law of Eileen Downey, Jean Downey and Sal Princiotta. Survived by many loving nieces and nephews and cherished family and friends. Memorial viewing at the Claude R. Boyd-Caratozzolo Funeral Home, 1785 Deer Park Ave, Deer Park, NY, on Thursday and Friday from 2-5 PM and 7-9:30 PM. A memorial mass will be held at St. Cyril and Methodius, RC Church at 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 15th. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his loving memory to the Deputy Chief, Raymond Downey Scholarship - Charity Fund (D.C.R.D.S.C Fund) 7 Bardish Lane, Babylon, NY 11702.


Crowd Expected for Services

Dec. 13, 2001

Suffolk County police are advising drivers to steer clear of Deer Park Avenue in Deer Park during the memorial services of a popular firefighter killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

The family of Deer Park resident Raymond Downey, who headed the special operations command in the New York City Fire Department, is receiving mourners at the Boyd, Caratazzolo Funeral Home on Deer Park Avenue from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. today and tomorrow.

A memorial Mass will be held for Downey on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church on Deer Park Avenue. Thousands are expected to attend, and police will close Deer Park Avenue from Bay Shore Road to Long Island Avenue between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday.

Police are asking motorists to use alternate routes during these times.
- Katie Thomas
Copyright 2001, Newsday, Inc.


'He Did What He Had to Do'

By Katie Thomas

December 14, 2001

Some things you learn about people only after they've gone. For the family of Raymond Downey, the manila folder was like that.

Downey headed the New York City Fire Department's special operations command and was one of the most decorated firefighters in the city. From his ruddy complexion to his habit of running into smoky buildings without a mask, Downey seemed to many of his colleagues to represent the very essence of what it meant to be a firefighter - so much so that some of them jokingly called him "God."

But he never boasted about his accomplishments to his family, never reveled in the praise that seemed to follow him wherever he went.

Except for the manila folder he carried in his briefcase, that is. It was the only indulgence Downey allowed himself; He stuffed it with letters and accolades from a 39-year career and gave it a label in a small, tidy script: "That A Boys."

His wife, Rosalie, found the folder after Downey, 63, was lost in the World Trade Center attack. "He never complimented himself," she said. "He always just did what he had to do."

Thousands are expected to gather at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Downey's funeral in Deer Park. When they stand in line to enter Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, when they deliver their eulogies, when they console his family, the mourners are unlikely to share Downey's reluctance to cite his achievements.

His knowledge of how buildings fall apart was so legendary that at national firefighting conferences, whole rooms would go quiet when he walked in. "He was kind of like a rock star. He was idolized," said Hal Bruno, chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

His expertise was sought not only within the five boroughs but at disasters around the country. Downey directed recovery work at the Oklahoma City disaster and in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He also helped pioneer an urban search-and-rescue program that mobilizes local firefighters to respond to disasters nationwide.

Downey, fellow firefighters said, had a knack for instantly assessing a disaster scene and then inventing a novel solution. In Oklahoma, for example, one of the biggest obstacles to rescuers was a giant concrete slab they had dubbed "Mother" that dangled precariously amid the wreckage. Downey thought the slab should be cinched up against the side of the building. Engineers and other experts disagreed, offering their own suggestions. In the end, "We eventually did what Ray told us to do," said Gary Marrs, the recently retired chief of the Oklahoma City Fire Department.

Downey also made frequent trips to Washington, serving on a congressional advisory panel on domestic terrorism and lobbying politicians to give local firefighters more money. In an interview with Newsday in 1997, Downey warned that the next war would be fought in an urban setting.

"He had been warning everyone of this for years," said Joe Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. For Downey, "it wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when."

What dazzled firefighters and politicians alike was not his way with words - Downey had a terse, reserved style - but his heroic resume. An ex-Marine, Downey joined the department in 1962 and served in two midtown ladder companies before joining Brooklyn's Rescue 2, an elite unit charged with rescuing endangered firefighters. In 1972, Downey was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to an engine-and- ladder company in East Harlem that earned the nickname "the Fire Factory" because it fought so many blazes.

In 1980, after advancing to captain and serving in other units, Downey returned to Rescue 2 as its leader. There, in the busiest squad in the city, colleagues say, Downey's reputation blossomed.

"He approached a fire straight on," said Lee Ielpi, a recently retired firefighter from Rescue 2. "The easy thing to do would be to unscrew your head at a major incident. But he knew exactly what had to be done."

John Barbagallo worked in Rescue 2 with Downey until his retirement in 1992. "He was the best fire officer I've ever known," Barbagallo said. "And when you have a good leader, you'd follow him into hell."

To his five children - fire Lt. Chuck Downey of Commack, fire Capt. Joseph Downey of West Islip, Ray Downey Jr. of Babylon, Marie Tortorici of Deer Park and Kathy Ugalde of Deer Park - Downey was a strict yet loving father who kept his work separate from his family life and encouraged them to channel their energy into sports. When they were growing up, Downey would sometimes work longer shifts just so he could make it to a son's wrestling match or a daughter's soccer game.

"He always had that Marine attitude - that tough exterior," said his son Ray, a physical-education teacher. "But once you got behind that, he really was a softie."

Downey's body has not been found. Eyewitnesses have said he was last seen in the Marriott hotel after the first tower had collapsed. He may have been heading to the second tower to evacuate firefighters when it came down, Chuck Downey said.

It may seem darkly ironic that a man who achieved international acclaim for his familiarity with rubbled disasters would himself die in one.

To his family and friends, it makes perfect sense. When a situation turned deadly, Downey would often order his men out just as he was running in.

Sometimes, Rosalie Downey says, she still talks to her husband, a man she met more than 40 years ago when they flirted through a glass partition in a Manhattan bank. She asks him why he didn't stay out when he led other firefighters to safety that day.

But, she says, she knows better than that. "Then I tell myself, Ray would have never lived with himself."
Copyright 2001, Newsday, Inc.


Extra Train For Funeral

Dec. 14, 2001

The Long Island Rail Road is adding an extra train from Penn Station tomorrow to accomodate riders attending the funeral of New York City Fire Chief Raymond Downey, who was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center.

The train will leave Penn Station at 8:50 a.m., arriving at Deer Park at 9:51 a.m. It will also make stops in Woodside, Jamaica, New Hyde Park, Mineola and Hicksville.

An additional train will depart Deer Park for Penn Station at 5:39 p.m.

Additional LIRR schedule information can be found at: http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/lirr/html/ttn/lirrtt.htm


Top New York Fire Official Mourned

By Associated Press

December 15, 2001, 11:21 PM EST

NEW YORK -- Thousands of firefighters gathered Saturday at a memorial for their fallen colleague Ray Downey, one of three top Fire Department officials lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Downey, chief of special operations command, was a firefighter for nearly 40 years and was the city's most decorated firefighter at age 63.

At the memorial service in Deer Park, on Long Island, a bagpipe procession was followed by a fire truck that carried a large flower arrangement made to resemble an American flag. Downey's helmet was on top.

Large American flags hung from fire ladders outside the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, where Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani were among the mourners. After the service, a group of children released two bouquets of white balloons into the air.

Downey was an expert on urban search-and-rescue, and led a team of New York City firefighters who responded to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. It was his idea to use cables to anchor a giant slab that was dangling from a roof of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, endangering rescuers.
Copyright 2001, The Associated Press


Saluting a Hero

FDNY's Ray Downey remembered

Samuel Bruchey and Michael Rothfeld
Staff Writers

December 16, 2001

They braced themselves against metal railings on the cold, clear morning Saturday, hundreds of them, to pay their respects to the New York City firefighter they always knew as a giant, and now the world knows, too.

In the street, Raymond Downey's troops stood saluting him for the last time as the truck from Rescue Company 2 rumbled slowly down Deer Park Avenue.

Then with only his memory to honor, firefighters unloaded a bed of red, white and blue flowers with his helmet resting on top and carried them into the packed Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church. Additional mourners gathered in an adjacent school to watch the memorial service on a large-screened television.

"How often have we decried our children no longer have any heroes," Monsignor Brendan Riordan said from the pulpit moments later.

"How blind of us not to know that the heroes have been around us all the time. We are here this morning saluting a truly world-class hero, Deputy Chief Raymond Matthew Downey."

Downey, 63, of Deer Park, was last seen in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel on Sept. 11, directing the rescue mission as the World Trade Center towers crumbled around him. His body has not been found.

During his 39-year career, Downey became one of the city's most decorated firefighters and achieved almost mythical status among them for his steely resolve in the face of disaster.

Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen said yesterday learning of Downey's loss was as crushing a blow as he suffered on Sept. 11.

"It was absolutely impossible to overcome," Von Essen said. "I couldn't imagine the New York City Fire Department without Ray Downey, especially with this tragedy to deal with."

A nationally known expert on urban search-and-rescue efforts, Downey directed recovery efforts at the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993 and of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Downey, who long led Rescue 2 in Brooklyn, was head of the New York Fire Department's special operations command at his death.

His memorial mass yesterday drew hundreds, from as far as Broward County, Fla., where Peter DeJesse, a firefighter from Fort Lauderdale, took classes from Downey on dealing with hazardous materials. "He shakes your hand, and its like you've known him for 20 years," DeJesse said, standing outside the church.

Chris Pelszynski, a volunteer firefighter from North Babylon, had never met Downey, but still wanted to help hoist one of the three American flags from fire trucks on both sides of Deer Park Avenue.

"He was like God, that's what everybody says," said Pelszynski, referring to Downey's nickname.

After mourners entered the church to bagpipes playing "Danny Boy," Msgr. Riordan spoke, and Downey's widow, Rosalie, walked with family members down the center aisle, laying a red rose on the pew. She sat with their five children, Lt. Chuck Downey of Commack, fire Capt. Joseph Downey of West Islip, Ray Downey Jr. of Babylon, Marie Tortorici of Deer Park and Kathy Ugalde of Deer Park.

Addressing them, Gov. George Pataki said, "We hope you have some consolation knowing that on that horrible day, the actions of Ray Downey and the men that he trained saved thousands and thousands of lives."

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani recalled two days this year when Downey stayed away from home, first to battle a gas main rupture in Brooklyn, and then to work at a building collapse in lower Manhattan. When the mayor asked him how he was at the time, Downey said he was fine, but asked Giuliani to bring his wife a note, excusing his absence.

"Now I ask Rosalie to excuse his absence one last time," Giuliani said yesterday. "Her husband, our hero, has laid down his life doing what he loved to do."

Others recalled some of Downey's signature rescue missions. In Oklahoma City, he urged those he oversaw to recover the most bodies, and they did, said Lt. Al Fuentes of Rescue 2. At the scene of the US Air Flight 405 crash at LaGuardia Airport in 1992, Fuentes said, Downey "was directing the rescue effort like he was directing a symphony orchestra."

His five children and two of Downey's grandchildren described a quiet, strong father who pushed them to excel in sports and learn the value of earning a living. To them, he was the man who piled into the car and drove to Iowa for an important wrestling match, who blew up the balloons at a birthday party.

His son, Ray Downey Jr., who was one of the last to speak yesterday, said, "I didn't need Sept. 11 to tell me who my hero was."
Copyright 2001, Newsday,Inc



Sunday, May 19, 2002

DOWNEY-Raymond of Deer Park, LI, FDNY-Deputy Chief of Special Operations Command, Heroically in the line of duty at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, a week before his 64th birthday. Beloved husband of Rosalie (nee Princiotta). Loving and adored father of Joseph and Lynn, Marie and Girolamo Totorici, Chuck and Melissa, Ray and Christine, Kathy and Brian Ugalde. Cherished Poppy of Gina Marie, Nicolette Rose, Peter Raymond, Joseph James, Connor Joseph, Olivia Faith, Kayla Rae and Emma Raye. Dear brother to Eugene, Thomas and the late Joseph and Alice Routeledge. Dear brother-in-law of Eileen Downey, Jean Downey and Sal Princiotta. Survived by may loving nieces and nephews and cherished family and friends. Mass of Christian Burial on Monday at Ss. Cyril and Methodius RC Church, Deer Park, NY at 10:15 AM. Interment to follow at St. Charles Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his loving memory to the Deputy Chief, Raymond Downey Scholarship-Charity Fund (D.C.R.D.S.C.), PO Box 223, Deer Park, NY 11729.
Copyright 2002, Newsday, Inc


View/sign Raymond Downey's Guest Book provided by the New York Times.

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Memorial Garden Entrance

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The Memorial Garden Created And Owned By Marj Klug