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Charles Henry Downey Sr.
December 22, 1926 ~ July 29, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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Mr. Charles Henry Downey Sr., of Canton, MA, passed away peacefully on July 29, 2023. A 63-year resident of the town, he was 96 years old. An only child, he was born in Boston in 1926 and was an accomplished student. He attended Boston Latin School where he was at the top of the class. He later graduated from Boston High School of Commerce. Due to difficult family circumstances, he was compelled to work during his time in high school as he was the sole financial supporter for his widowed mother, Mary. At 16, he attended school during the day, and would then drive to Hingham’s Bethlehem Steel Shipyard for the 4pm to 12 am shift, where he was a shipfitter and lead welder. In spite of his young age, he quickly rose to a shift supervisory position. At 18, he joined the Navy and served for the duration of World War II. He served as an aviation metalsmith in Norman, Oklahoma and was also stationed at Norfolk VA Naval Base. He liked to say that the Japanese heard he was coming and surrendered. After his discharge from the Navy, he began a distinguished career with Buckley & Scott, Whetton Oil Co., Inc. in the heating oil business where he was an exceptional salesman. Among his many innovations in heating and cooling equipment, in 1961, he personally designed and oversaw the installation of the heating system in President John F. Kennedy’s new home in Rattlesnake Ridge, Virginia. Charlie later rose to the position of President of Buckley & Scott following its acquisition by Atlantic Richfield Company and then subsequently by British Petroleum (BP). In 1985, 40 years after he began as a salesman, with the help of the Bank of Boston, he purchased Buckley & Scott from Atlantic Richfield. Throughout his career he was active in oil industry matters as he served on the legislative committee for Massachusetts Oilheat Council, the New England Fuel Institute, and the Heating Fuels Committee of the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA). He was called to testify before Congress on important oil industry matters. In 1996, he was inducted into the inaugural class by NEFI as a “Legend of Oilheat.” Charlie was a Director for the Sales and Marketing Executives of Boston, a lecturer on sales and marketing at Boston University, was a director for First American Bank in Boston, and served on the financial advisory committee for the Archdiocese of Boston. Charlie was a member of the Algonquin Club, Boston and was a longtime member (1965-2023) and past officer of the Hyannis Yacht Club where he enjoyed his passion for the sea. Charlie had a lifelong passion for the Boston Red Sox, where he attended the 1946 World Series, and any sport that his sons or grandchildren were involved. Charlie was the devoted husband and predeceased by the love of his life, Jacqueline C. Downey (Cranwell). Loving father of Charles H. Downey Jr. and his wife Lisa of Hyannisport, John C. Downey of Canton, and Christopher J. Downey and his wife Sara of Houston, TX. Proud grandfather to Julia of Santa Barbara, CA, Charles III, and Ryan of Hyannisport, MA; Megan and John, Jr. (JJ) of Marblehead, MA; and Pierce and Tessa Downey of Houston, TX. Visiting hours in the Pushard Family Funeral Home 210 Sherman St., Canton, Sunday August 6th from 3-6 PM. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Funeral services will be private. If desired, donations may be made in his memory to the Jay and Louise Coffman Professor Chair in Vascular Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine.