Alton's Story

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BLUE HILL - Alton "Tony" Downer, 96, died peacefully July 24, 2016, at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital after a long and happy life. He was born March 30, 1920, in Springfield, Mass., the son of Guy and Ruth Adams Downer.

Tony graduated from Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass., in 1939, and went on to Syracuse University as a student in music education. With WWII declared, he left in his junior year and joined the Navy, achieving the rank of Ensign and was a communications officer on an LST in the Pacific Ocean, taking part in the battle of Okinawa and the occupation of Japan. At the end of the war, he met and married Millie Gabbert, a Navy nurse whom he met in Long Beach, Calif.

He returned to Syracuse to receive a BFA and Masters of Music Education. Then, from 1948-1958, he worked as a HS band director and church choir director in Mariemont, Ohio. He then moved to Latham, N.Y., 1958-1978, where he worked in public education for the North Colonie School District as a music teacher and ultimately an elementary school principal. While in Latham, he also was choir director of the Calvary United Methodist Church, and directed musicals with a local theatrical company.

Upon retirement, he and Millie moved to Harborside, Maine, and created their dream; building a home on the ocean and living a life filled with gardening, nature, music, friends and travel. Tony was especially fulfilled by his volunteer work at the Bagaduce Music Lending Library and singing in the Bagaduce Chorale.

He was pre-deceased by his wife, Millie (Gabbert), and is survived by his son, Rick in Atlanta, Ga.; daughter, Sallie Biittner in Syracuse, N.Y.; and three grandchildren.

Memorial contributions in his name can be made to the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, PO Box 829, Blue Hill, ME 04614. Checks may be payable to "BMLL" in his memory.

Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com
Published on  July 27, 2016
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