To my son Tommy,
This morning your grandfather, Leo Thomas Downey III, passed into eternal life. We woke you to come say your goodbyes but you had already made your peace with his passing. You gave his body a quick kiss and went back downstairs to bed. For this action, I know your grandpa would consider you the smart one of the bunch.
Here is something I wrote out to submit to the newspaper, preparing for your Grandpa Leo's death.
21 May 1948 – 31 March 2017
Leo Thomas Downey III (U.S. Army Major Retired) passed the morning of Friday the 31st of March in his home surrounded by loved ones after an extended two and a half year battle with stage four glioblastoma brain cancer.
He is survived by his wife of forty five years Rosemarie “Ro” Ann Downey (nee Klein), his only son Leo Thomas Downey IV, his daughter in law Kathleen “Cassie” Downey (nee Frazier), his grandson Thomas Leo Downey, his mother Jeanne Downey (nee Kidwell), his three brothers Kevin Downey, Sean Downey, and Padraig “Paddy” Downey and their families that were so dear to him, his aunt Sheila Melzac (nee Downey), his uncle John Downey, and many cousins and in-laws and nephews and nieces and grand nephews and grand nieces and friends too numerous to mention but each very dear to him. He lived a very adventurous and blessed life filled with joy and happiness as he delighted in the most simple pleasures and curious oddities and the love of his very extended family.
My father has donated his body to science and there will be no official funeral services at this immediate time. A memorial mass will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers or other such common gestures accompanied with death, I believe my father would appreciate it if you were to give a little more in your local church collection basket or poor box and say a prayer for his soul as you do so. If you have time and feel so inclined, he would have also encouraged you to go to confession and remind you it is never to late to return to your faith. Otherwise, celebrate his life with a smile on your face, a gluten free drink in your hand, and a colander on your head.
Sincerely Leo Thomas Downey IV.
So that is what I came up with. Trust me there is so much more to this man than any announcement in any publication can handle. Listing all those that he touched, all those that he loved, all those that will grieve his loss, would fill an entire section of the paper. With his selfless final donation, there are no viewings and no time or place for others to send their condolences, at least not now. So for now we will have to just keep on keeping on. Perhaps that is the way he meant it to be.
Sincerely with love and sadness,
from your dad,