Official Obituary of

Francis "Skip" Downey

October 30, 1929 ~ March 2, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old

Francis "Skip" Downey Obituary


10/30/1929 - 3/2/2023


Francis T. “Skip” Downey of Elizabeth, 93, beloved husband for 72 years of Joan Downey (née)

Eckelhofer), passed away on March 2, 2023.  Relatives and friends are invited to gather on Friday, March 10, from 4:00 – 8:00 PM at the Higgins & Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home, 582 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, NJ.  A Mass of Christian burial will be offered on Saturday, March 11, at 10:00 AM at Saint Genevieve’s Catholic Church, 200 Monmouth Road, Elizabeth; Internment will follow at Fairview Cemetery in Westfield. 

Skip was a lifelong resident of Elizabeth, NJ, born to Francis J. and Eleanor (née Kopf) Downey in 1929.  He attended Elizabeth Public Schools, St. Genevieve’s Elementary School, and graduated Thomas Jefferson High School in 1947.  Skip also attended Rutgers University.

Skip began his career as a draftsman at Singer Corporation in Elizabeth. In 1952, he joined Esso Standard Oil Company at their Bayway Refinery in Linden, beginning a 60-year-long career with ExxonMobil corporation (née Esso). As an Engineer, Skip worked for many years with Exxon Research & Engineering in Florham Park, specializing in process plant layout. Following retirement in 2001, he continued to work as a consultant to ExxonMobil in Fairfax, VA, concluding in 2012 at age 83.

Skip traveled widely through his engineering work, contributing to projects across ExxonMobile’s global organization. Frequent North American destinations were Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, and Calgary. His many international trips included the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Venezuela, Aruba, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and China, where he was fondly known as “Mr. Skip.” He enjoyed this travel, and in conjunction, pursued his love of long-distance running, which allowed him to sightsee the world one road at a time!

Skip’s running passion began in the 1970s.  His first of seven NYC Marathons was in 1981; he ran his best time of 3:38:11 which was run in 1983.  Skip was a proud member of the New York Road Runners Club, taking part in numerous races in Central Park.  Some of his close running mates were Dan Russell, Frank “Red” MacNab, Walter Furtney, Marion Byrnes, and he was a regular among the Warinanco Park running fraternity.

Skip was an active member of the Jaycees in the 60s. He was a volunteer at the Saint Joseph Social Center in Elizabeth and as a proud Thornstick; he marched in many Saint Patrick's Day parades.   He had many good friends locally, and in recent years, enjoyed his chats with a steady group of buddies at Dunkin Donuts Five Points, Union.

Skip and Joan enjoyed a lifetime of family summer vacations at the Jersey Shore and 30+ years at their favorite spot at the O’Connor’s farm, Knocknahow, on the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. Skip was extremely devoted to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He spent many, many hours following their numerous activities and supporting them as their beloved POP.

Skip is predeceased by his sisters, Eleanor Marino, and Jean Cogan.  He is survived by his sister Mary Lou Burkhardt of Vero Beach, FL, and his six children: daughters Noreen Korner-Andrews (Charlie) of Elizabeth, Mary Elizabeth Hauck of Garwood, and sons Thomas of Dallas, TX., James (Julie Kelly) of Dublin, Ireland, Michael (Cheryl) of Omaha, NE, and Brian (Gina) of Clark, NJ.  Skip and Joan have ten grandchildren: Brian, Dan, Nicole, E­­van, Casey, Benjamin, Jordan, Braeden, Jonathan, and Logan. In addition, there are seven great-grandchildren: Nathan, Patrick, Alex, Nora, Tommy, Ayla, and Hadley.

­In lieu of flowers donations can be made to either these two schools:

St. Benedicts Prep

In lieu of flowers, please consider a tribute gift in memory of Skip to

St. Benedicts Prep.

Union Catholic High School

In lieu of flowers, please consider a tribute gift in memory of Skip to

Union Catholic High School.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Francis "Skip" Downey, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Francis "Skip" Downey?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Francis "Skip"'s memory.


March 10, 2023

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home
582 Springfield Ave.
Westfield, NJ 07090

Mass of Christian Burial
March 11, 2023

10:00 AM
St. Genevieve's RC Church
200 Monmouth Rd
Elizabeth, NJ 07208

March 11, 2023

Fairview Cemetery
1100 East Broad Street
Westfield, NJ 07091


© 2024 Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility