Cover photo for Douglas George Downes's Obituary
Douglas George Downes Profile Photo
1919 Douglas 2007

Douglas George Downes

December 27, 1919 — June 24, 2007

Douglas Downes passed away at home in Punta Gorda, Sunday June 24th, after a short illness, at the age of 87. He leaves his wife, Muriel, to whom he was married 66 years. Douglas has lived in Florida, since his retirement at age 63, but was a resident of Framingham, Massachusetts, during the years he was employed as an Engineer. He leaves two sons: Stuart, a resident of Milford, Massachusetts and Trevor who resides in Boynton Beach, Florida. Mancel pre-deceased his father in 1965. Douglas grew up in the village of Ingatestone, and at eleven years of age, won a scholarship to the King George Grammar School in Chelmsford, England. He then joined the Royal Air Force and attended Cranwell Technical College; graduating as an Engineer and Instrument Maker on the day Britain joined the Second World War. Douglas was posted to various operational Bomber Squadrons; the most notable being “617 Dam Buster Squadron” and was promoted often; finally reaching the rank of Warrant Officer. In 1943 he was employed by De Havilland Engine Company and worked on Jet Turbine Development. He was awarded several design patents, the most notable, for instrumentation of a turbine, extending bearing life and turbine operating temperature, and for the first system designed to re-start a jet engine in an airborne aircraft. In 1952 he joined Sperry Gyroscope and worked on the navigation and control systems for the Hawker Hunter Fighter. Again, he was awarded many patents for strategic advances in the art of flight control. Some of these included the original joy stick that interpreted the pilots’ movements, through instrumentation, into commands for the aircraft’s control surfaces. This system ensured that the aircraft didn’t break up due to mechanical forces exerted on the airframe; and stopped the pilot from blacking out, in combat, from attempting overly aggressive maneuvers near the speed of sound. Much of these developments were of immediate use to all the allies through the NATO agreement. Douglas and Muriel immigrated to the United States in 1960 and Douglas worked for Bendix on flight control components for the Polaris Missile. He ended his working career with Setra, in Natick, Massachusetts, a company that designs and manufactures precision Accelerometers. Douglas was an excellent athlete and played on the school cricket and soccer teams: he also represented his school in competitive cross-country running. Throughout his life he enjoyed home improvement projects and was just as happy building brick walls as he was rewiring or re-decorating a home. His greatest source of pleasure and relaxation came from gardening which was a life long pursuit. He learned to grow all types of vegetables, fruit, and flowers. He adapted to the North American climate and plants and enjoyed learning about tropical plants - when he retired to Florida. He was most proud of his ability to grow Figs. He was an independent man – with a strong work ethic – and a wonderful role model for his sons and grand-children; he encouraged them to pursue their education and learn a basic trade. He mentored the younger generation through story telling drawing on some of his personal experiences. Although he claimed to have lived a long and a good life he will be greatly missed by his immediate family. His family requests that Memorial Donations be made, in lieu of flowers, to the TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34238.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Douglas George Downes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, June 29, 2007

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Johnson-Taylor Funeral & Cremation

1515 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, FL 33950

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 0

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree