By Karen Andrew
Enquirer Staff Writer
NAPLES, FLA. - At work, Ronald L. Downey spent years researching Crest toothpaste and dealing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on behalf of Procter & Gamble.
At home, he dedicated three decades to the Mount Airy community, including co-founding its town council and co-writing a history of the area.
Mr. Downey died Thursday in Naples, where he had lived for about a year. The former Mount Airy resident was 71.
"He was one of those guys that was so interested in his community and making it a better place for all of the residents," said Jack Metz, a longtime friend and fellow member of several community organizations. "If it had anything to do with Mount Airy in the last 30 years, he was involved in it."
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Mr. Downey served as a radar technician aboard aircraft carriers for four years in the Navy and during the Korean War He was a former ham radio operator.
He earned a doctorate in biology in 1965 from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
After graduation, he moved to Cincinnati to work for Procter & Gamble. He performed extensive research on Crest toothpaste and served as the company's representative to the FDA. He retired in 1993.
Mr. Downey was one of the founders of the Mount Airy Town Council and served as one of its early presidents. He also was active with the Mount Airy Civic Association and served on its board of directors.
Years ago, Mr. Metz said he and Mr. Downey wrote a history of Mount Airy as part of a project that involved assembling historical tablets for several Cincinnati communities. Mr. Downey also served as scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 83, which was sponsored by the Mount Airy Civic Association.
Mr. Downey's other interests included tinkering and cooking.
"He literally tinkered with everything," said Mr. Metz. "If it moved, he wanted know why and how."
To help pay for his college expenses, he ran an electronic repair shop in Indianapolis while attending school, said Mr. Metz.
"He cooked a mean pot roast and made the best nut bread," said his daughter, Frankie Jones, of Hamilton.
In Naples, Mr. Downey served as board president of his condominium association.
In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife, Doris; sons, Brian of Fairfield, Todd of Winton Place, and Andrew of Northside; and nine grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. today at the Jon Deitloff Funeral Centre, 4389 Spring Grove Ave., with interment at Spring Grove Cemetery.
Memorials: American Heart Association, 2841 Bonita Crossings Blvd., Bonita Springs, FL 34135 or the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, 386 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016.
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