Aug. 15, 1987 Clearwater Pinellas County Florida, USA
Father: Morton Elias DOWNING
Mother: Effie Eslie WORDEN
Spouse: Jessie Theresa WICHERS ________________________________ Oscar Howard DOWNING
Before my father was married he had battery shop in Tampa. As I understand it, his parents took all his money and he lost the shop. He worked in Oldsmar, Florida (Oldsmar was named after the Olds of Oldsmobile). When he and Jessie Theresa Wichers were married, they moved to Clearwater, where he worked as a gas meter reader. He soon was given other jobs until he became ‘the repair man' for gas meters. He also was in charge of several wells for the city's water supply. (I remember one that my sister and I loved to visit with him because we had to walk a narrow cat walk over water to reach the well he was checking on. Big stuff!) He had a large building where he worked on the gas meters and regulators that either needed repair or came in as a time check up plan. From there, they built a larger building for him and he was in charge of the gas and water departments until he retired. He wore many hats and wore them well. When he retired, they put three men in his job.
When WW II came along, he was itchy to hear all the newscasters on the radio until he couldn't stand it any more and had to get back into the service. He had lied about his age to get into the Great War so had to get that straightened out as he was too old for the Navy. He still was too old for the regular Navy but the Seabees had been formed and they gladly took him.
After his retirement in 1957, he worked for himself, adding rooms to houses, building swimming pools, whatever people wanted. He made a lot more friends that way. He was very active in the American Legion and also worked with the Sheriff who had a Junior Deputy's Program with a camp in Northern Florida. Mother and he attended Seabee (ex) meetings, a rock club, Elks, and several other organizations that I can't remember.
Their house sat on four lots so there was a lot of work for both of them. He added on to their house and built a new garage to house his car as well as all his tools. He had the woodworking tools Don Elias had given Morton and my brother Tom now has them.
Source: Cecelia Agnes DOWNING FALZONE - Dallas, Texas / 3 DEC 2005 ____________________________________ SEABEES by Oscar Howard Downing
In 1942 I became a Seabee - reasons were the Navy seemed to be looking for men with maintenance experience as well as construction. Having electrical training (WWI) as well as water and gas (City of Clearwater, FL.). I thought it might be of some use.
I was assigned to the 72nd Battalion, consisting of approximately 1100 officers and enlisted men, and put about three months of intensive military and technical training. Part in Williamsburg, Va. and the rest in Rhode Island.
In May 1943, the first job was at Barbers Point and Ewa on Oahu. This was one of the largest single jobs the Seabees had, but we learned to work as a team here.
We supplied practically all concrete used on the island, had three rock quarries, shot more dynamite than any outfit in the Pacific, installed about 21 underground 25 and 50 thousand gallon concrete gasoline tanks each with dual pumps for transferring airplane fuel to almost anywhere on the island.
We built one building covering about seven acres and equipped it with tools to make and replace any part of any plane used by the Navy. Crossed runways (X) were built, each about two miles long and one quarter mile wide. This job took about ten months. This formed a pit approximately one quarter by one and a half miles long of various depth by using the coral sand for concrete.
The next job was at the entrance to Pearl Harbor across the inlet from Hickham Field. Built a camp for six thousand men on an old coral rock sea bottom full of puka holes, lava flows and general mess.
Deadline date twenty-one days, Two hundred Quon-set huts for barracks, three large huts for warehouses, galley and mess halls, streets paved for all. Washrooms, showers, sewers, sewer lift station, water lines all in coral rock, eighteen miles of ditches dug in seventeen days. All dynamited jobs finished in seventeen days. ____________________________________ This person is related to me directly or by marriage or by common ancestor. AAM III