9/30/2020 – Ralph F. Downey, Clayton

9/30/2020 – Ralph F. Downey, Clayton

Mr. Ralph F. Downey, 73, passed away Tuesday, September 29th, at his home, where he was under the care of his family and Hospice of Jefferson County.

Services will be private at the convenience of the family because of the coronavirus.

Ralph was born, January 23rd, 1947, in Alexandria Bay, the son of Ralph F. and Madeline (Betty) Stage Downey Sr. He graduated from Clayton Central School.

On January 22nd, 1968, he enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served on the U.S.S. Seminole, until he was honorably discharged.

On September 19th, 1970, he married the former Billie Holloway, at the Clayton Baptist Church.

Ralph worked for the Village of Clayton for 38 years, retiring from the Water Department in 2010.  

He was a former member of the Clayton Volunteer Fire Department.

Ralph enjoyed going to his camp on Grindstone Island, he loved fishing, all kinds of hunting, and taking his Grandson Hunter various places for skeet shooting.

Surviving, besides his wife Billie, is a son Jonathan (Cherie) of Clayton; one grandson, Hunter of Clayton; a niece, Heather (Terry) Craddock and their son Kyle of Clayton; a niece, Juliana Downey of Watertown; and a sister, Peggy (Zeke) Bechaz of Colorado.

One son, Jaime, died April 8th, 2019, a brother, Peter, died August 27th, 2014, and another brother, Edward, died January 29th, 2020.

Donations can be made in his name to Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham Street Road, Watertown, N.Y. 13601 or the Clayton Volunteer Fire Department, 855 Graves Street, Clayton, N.Y. 13624.


  1. Arnold Crump Posted

    Sorry to read of Ralphs passing. He was always a great friend and person. He will be missed. RIP my friend.

  2. Duane Hazelton Posted

    Ralph was a great guy and will be missed dearly. I first met Ralph while we were in the Naval Reserves. Always was ready to help and always had a smile. So sorry for “our” loss.

  3. Louie & Rosie Montante Posted

    So sorry to hear about Ralph. Our deepest sympathy.

  4. Sandy Solar Posted

    TGIF & OSIM. Thanks for the many years we worked together for the village of Clayton, Monday’s and Friday’s were the best. You were a great friend, I cherish many laughs the group shared. RIP Ralph

  5. Bill Bazinet Posted

    Ralph and I had some great adventures when we were kids growing up in Clayton. So sad to hear of his passing. My heartfelt prayers to his family.

  6. Fran Burns Posted

    So very sorry for your loss. RIP.

  7. Douglas Rogers Posted

    So sorry to hear about Ralph’s passing. I fondly recall working with Ralph during my time on the Village Board. He provided me with an excellent orientation regarding the water department for the Village. He will be missed.

  8. dan hale Posted

    so sorry to the of your friend ,your grandfather,your husband ,a friend to everyone .

  9. rosemary ada Posted

    so very sorry to hear of ralph passing… may god bless you and family

  10. Walt & Cathy Perry Posted

    Billie Ann & Family, So sad to hear this news. I will always remember Ralph in school hunting ducks by the window and making me laugh. A great person . All the walleye he caught , and just always ready to visit.. RIP Ralph and hunt and fish all you want now..

  11. Joanne Leyland-Huff Posted

    So sorry to hear about Ralph’s passing. He was truly a great person and always willing to help out. Loved fishing, hunting, going to Grindstone and absolutely loved his family. RIP Ralph. You will truly be missed by many.

  12. Melissa Haas Posted

    Ralph will be missed by many! He always treated my sisters and me like one of his own! Sending lots of love to the whole family!

  13. Louann Brown Posted

    So sorry for your loss. Ralph was a great man and a good friend to our family. He will be missed and our condolences go to your family.

  14. Scott Kittle Posted

    To Billie Ann, Peggy, and families, I am so sorry for your loss. Ralph and the entire Downey family were very special people as were the Holloways. RIP Ralph

  15. Sue streets Posted

    Billie and family. So sad to hear. Prayers with you. Gib and Sue Streets.

  16. mary green Posted

    so very sorry for your loss…Ralph was an awesome boss and friend who will be dearly missed… H e was my mentor-(marsh)… You were an amazing man who always had great stories to tell, which everyone will miss..R>I>P> -and know we will continue to carry on your legend-through our stories of you!
    Marshall & Mary Green

  17. Martha Millett Posted

    Billie… I am very sorry for your loss, my ‘old’ friend! … Ralph was a special guy with a great aura surrounding him that sure made his company endearing… I enjoyed many great stories and laughs years ago… that “Downey humor” was enjoyed by many!

  18. Charlie and Rindy Posted

    Ralph was one special person. We did a lot of hunting and fishing together on grindstone along with some great fly fishing together in Maine. He was a great family man and husband and loyal worker for the town of Clayton. He was a foundling member of the Grindstone Old Dogs Club and will be missed by us all.

  19. Valerie Pete Schwalm Posted

    Billie and family: My deepest sympathy on Ralph’s passing. I have so many memories of our trips to BOCES many years ago. My thoughts ad prayer are with you. May he RIP

  20. Kim H Kowalke Posted

    As one of the Grindstone “Old Dogs,” it was my privilege to get to know Ralph, first as our “hunting and fishing guide,” then as a friend for past three decades. Always a sparkle of mischief in his eyes, always an outrageous story to tell, often about youthful escapades with his buddy Skip, he kept us Old Dogs laughing from first Manhattan after a hunt until we all, including the real dogs, had fallen asleep because Ralph had worn us out tromping around Grindstone over hill and dale all day. My wife Liz and I will miss him greatly Our sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to Billie and family.

  21. Steve and Debbie Donaldson Posted

    So sorry to read this- so sad . Billie and family know that we send you our love and condolences.

  22. Dale harvey Posted

    Sorry for your loss Ralph was a good friend and a good man he will be missed

  23. Aleatha (slate) Hasley Posted

    So sorry for your loss my thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  24. Herb Sharon Seymour Posted

    I was very sad to hear my old pal Ralph had passed away, he was a a great buddy growing up with in Clayton. we shared a birthday “Jan 23” one year apart. I remember playing cards at Solars after school {loads of laughs}! H e was a great family man, our thoughts & prayers go out to Billie & family. RIP OLD FRIEND! Herb & Sharon Seymour

  25. Eric Haake Posted

    I was saddened to hear about Ralph passing away. He was a good egg and will be missed. I will always remember him saying eat every carrot and pea on your plate. My condolences to his family and friends. RIP Ralph.

  26. Dave Johnson Posted

    To the Downey Family,
    So sorry to hear of Ralph’s passing. Our family met Ralph in the early 80’s when we bought our cottage on Bartlett Point. He always had time for a pleasant talk & he loved the outdoors & was always willing to share. Like clock work you could count on seeing Ralph out in his boat evenings during the summer walleye fishing & we’d enjoy a wave or pleasant exchange. Ralph & his pleasant manner will truly be missed. Fair winds & tight lines my friend, may you R.I.P.
    The Johnson Family

  27. Melinda Countryman Posted

    I have not been able to find the words to express my condolences. Ralph was always so good to me and my sisters. Always there to lead us in the right direction like we were one of his own. I remember fishing, boating and swimming to the light house. A great man that will truly be missed. RIP Ralph

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