Tag Archives: Lemuel Joseph Downs

Connected in time and space…part 9

the end of the beginnings…….

In the spring of 1964, George and his brother, Lemuel Joseph Downs (my father) and their older sister Evelyn Downs Piper were reunited at our home – the last time the three surviving siblings would be in the same space… the last time we would see George.

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Arriving in his white Bentley, with his ever-present bow tie, and charming demeanor, he told us of his plan to take a pied-a-terre in London – to divide his time between it and his home in Pasadena.  Always interested in my education (I was just finishing my junior year of high school), he and I talked of college and his promise to send me to the school of my choice – although he made his desires known!  Then there was the tantalizing promise of a trip ‘around the world’ upon graduation that I had been hearing about since I was a small child.

I was shy; he a bit awkward with his 17 year old niece….how I wish now for more time with him (see part 1)

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Although we heard nothing of the prelude, we learned in late summer of 1964 that George and Rosalyn had married in London…

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…on November 8, 1964 George Wallingford Downs, Jr. died at the age of 53.

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George was in Pasadena, dining with friends…

Rosalyn was in London, about to embark on a concert tour…

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Rosalyn briefly re-appeared in our lives in 1970 to play at the dedication of the Downs Laboratory of Physics (see part 1) on the Caltech campus.

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then………….silence.………………………………..

until………….

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Connected in time and space…part 6

The Manhattan Project came to fruition, the war ended;  George W Downs with wife Beatrice, made their home in Altadena on Rubio Canyon Drive in a lovely David A. Ogilvie-designed Spanish Colonial Revival home, perched on the edge of the Arroyo Seco.

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Uncle George’s pine-paneled den smelled exotically (to my young nose) of pipe smoke, leather and cognac when I visited as a child with my mother and father:

Theresa Catherine Cresto Downs and Lemuel Joseph Downs – George’s younger brother,

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 and my grandmother… George’s and Lemuel’s mother, Lena Miller Downs,

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George taking photos with his latest equipment, developing them in his darkroom – the door visible at bottom right

Aunt Bea’s art studio overlooking the arroyo fascinated me, but was off-limits…

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Even the house has a Caltech connection…acquired by George and Beatrice in 1949, the property was later sold to a Caltech professor of physics, and then to a member of the aeronautics faculty at Caltech – in 2000 his wife was kind enough to allow us inside and on the grounds  to take photos, reminisce, gather a stray brick from the yard, an empty glass bottle from the darkroom…

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Sharing history and stories about the house, she mentioned that Rosalyn Tureck had once played there……………………..

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