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470 Massachusetts Avenue
PO Box 882
Acton, MA 01720
Phone: 978-263-5333
Fax: 978-263-8193
Marsha L.  Downey

Marsha L. Downey

Monday, September 16th, 2019
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The Life Celebration Service Program link is at the conclusion of this page.

Marsha L. Downey, daughter of Clara Jean (Grubb) and George E. Downey, died on September 16, 2019, after a long battle with ovarian cancer.

Born in December 1958 in Nashville TN, she moved with her family to Westford MA in the fall of 1967. She attended Westford public schools, graduating from Westford Academy in 1977. While in school, she developed a love of weaving, drawing, and macramé, and blossomed in the art classes of gifted teacher Joan Longobardi. From 1977-1980 she worked at the Roudenbush Community Center pre-school, coordinating arts & crafts activities for the children. There, she developed a love of children’s art. She took classes with local potters Jane Hinckley of Westford, and MFA teacher David Davison at Federal Furnace Pottery in Dunstable MA. In 1978 she took a quilting class with Sally Palmer Field of Chelmsford, and went on a quilters’ bus trip to Shelburne Museum in VT. This was to spark a life-long love of quilting, which eventually spanned 50 years, and resulted in over 250 quilts, some of which appeared in shows and magazines over the years.

She attended Penland School of Crafts in western NC twice, first for a concentration in ceramics, and later for textile design, thanks to a scholarship obtained with the help of Paulus Berensohn. Once there, she was his classroom assistant. From 1981-1984 she worked for Middlesex Savings Bank, marrying Robert F. Lyons in November of 1984. In 1985 she went to work for a defense contractor, Assurance Technology Corp., where she worked in Government Contracts and Accounting until 2015. For several years she was a board member of the Chelmsford Quilters Guild, and The Feedsack Club.

In 1998 she and her husband Rob moved from North Chelmsford to Littleton MA. In 2002 she went on a Quilters’ Excursion bus trip to Lancaster PA with her mother, where they enjoyed Amish cooking, fabric shopping, and antique quilts at the large annual quilt show in Lancaster. In 2008 she did a series of paper garden collages, the off-shoot of an earlier series of garden quilts. From 2015 to 2018 she worked for Analog Devices Inc. as a Contract Administrator, until forced to retire due to ill health.

Throughout her creative life, she was heavily influenced by the philosophies and techniques that arose from Black Mountain College, as several of her mentors and teachers had deep roots there. Working with “chance” as a creative tool was one such example. She developed her own philosophy of art in the universal context, and the importance of seeing the “connections” between objects and events in our daily lives. In accordance with the teachings of Black Mountain instructor M.C. Richards, she believed strongly in the renaissance “generalist”, and the importance of using our entire spectrum of talents and abilities during one’s lifetime. She spent her entire career working to achieve this balance.

Life-long interests included: Old movies, history, vintage fabrics and antiques, archaeology, wildlife and nature, needlework of all kinds, ceramics, genealogy research and regional studies, quilting, folk art collecting and outsider art.

Marsha is pre-deceased by: her mother Jean, father George, brother Doug and brother-in-law Noel D. Rainville. She is survived by: her loving and devoted husband Rob, siblings Ellen, Neil, and Gregg, sister-in-law Joyce, nieces Leah and Kala Downey, and extended Lyons family.

Calling hours will be held: Saturday, November 2, 2019 10:00 -11:00AM, followed by a Celebration of Life at 11:00AM at the Acton Funeral Home, 470 Massachusetts Avenue, with a luncheon following at the Acton Women’s Club, 504 Main St., Acton. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, High Point Hospice House, 360 North Ave., Haverhill MA 01830, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Memorial page
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
    Acton Funeral Home
    470 Massachusetts Avenue
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Service immediately following visitation In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, High Point Hospice House, 360 North Ave., Haverhill MA 01830, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
  • Service

    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 | 11:00am
    Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 11:00am
    Acton Funeral Home
    470 Massachusetts Avenue
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Kathleen Hepler
  • Interment

    Westlawn Cemetery
    7 New Estate Road
    LITTLETON, MA 01460
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Urn Burial to be Held Privately

Memorial Program

We have provided a digital copy (PDF) of the Memorial Program that we supply at the time of the service. To Download this file please click the filename below. Marsha L. Downey - Memorial Program


We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Marsha L. here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

Private Condolence

Kathy Boyle

Posted at 11:31am
The poem featured at the Life Celebration
A Legacy of Stitches Sandra E. Andersen 2001-2008
A Legacy of Stitches is what we leave behind;
the imprint of our very soul that lasts beyond our time.
The heart that quilts knows, oh, so well the peace that can be found, as needle meets with fabric, for there is no sweeter sound.
Whether quiet piecing done by hand or on our sewing machine, there’s rhythm to our stitches as we sew along each seam.
Those stitches tell the story of our lives as they unfold
as we think of quilts that Grandma made with stories left untold.
The humdrum of our daily lives grows elegant and grand,
when we start to cut the pieces, then stitch the fabric in our hands.
And whatever is the reason for the quilts we piece and sew,
and whoever is the maker, there is one thing that we know.
Each quilt is full of memories, and is a treasured thing.
If quilts could talk, imagine how some quilts would surely sing!
For some quilts are sewn in happy times and others when we’re sad, and some are sewn in laughter and others when we’re mad.
Some are sewn to warm us, and some sewn just for fun,
and some are “works in progress” that never quite get done!
Some quilts are sewn for beauty, a quilt made just for “show”,
but the heart of the true quilter is the one who really knows~
That no matter how the quilt is stitched, we leave our mark in time. This Legacy of Stitches is what we leave behind.

Lorraine Butler

Posted at 01:14am
I don't know you I'm so sorry to hear about your wife passing she is now resting in peace may god be with you and your family you Are all in my prays always remember the good times you had with her

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