John Patrick Downing

John Patrick Downing, 43, of Richmond, Virginia, died on October 3, 2019. John was born on April 19, 1976 in Charlottesville, Va. He was the son of Bruce and Donna Downing of Winchester.

During his school years he was an active member of the band at Sacred Heart, as well as at Daniel Morgan and at Handley. He attended Dickinson College and Shenandoah University, majoring in political science. After college, he lived in Northern Virginia, and was involved in Democratic politics and Catholic activist groups. John lived his passions, and was a dedicated member of Pax Christi and the Catholic Worker Movement.

John moved to Richmond in 2008 and was active in the political and music scene. He opened a popular music venue in Richmond called “Strange Matter”. Strange Matter sponsored live musical shows nightly. Many in Richmond knew about — and enjoyed — the music at Strange Matter.

John was disabled from birth with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and lived his life in a wheel chair. He never let his condition limit his enjoyment of life and he loved a good party. John travelled widely, visiting 27 national parks and several European countries. He had a huge cadre of friends and regularly assisted both friend and stranger who were in need.

John is survived by his parents and his brother, Edward (Amanda) Downing and his nephew, Augustus Downing. His local family also includes his uncle, Jimmy (Roni) Wilkins; Cousins Richie (Cara) Wilkins and Liz (Bill) Talley. Second cousins include Will and Hays Talley; plus Georgie, Lillian, James, and Isabel Wilkins. John’s paternal family includes Brian (Carroll) Downing, Rosemary Downing, Stephen Downing, Patrick (Katie) Downing, Chris (Wilma) Downing, Kevin (Denise) Downing and second cousins: Brendan, Connor, Erin and Katelin Downing.

A Catholic Mass and memorial service will be held locally in Winchester at Sacred Heart Church, on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. John’s body, per his request, will be given to science.

Memorials may be sent to: Pax Christi Metro D C, P.0. Box 29030, Washington, D.C. 20017-9030 or Sacred Heart Academy, 110 Keating Drive, Winchester, Va. 22601.

(1) entry

John D Copenhaver

So sorry to learn of John’s death. I had the pleasure of having him as a student at Shenandoah University. He was a rigorous thinker with a good sense of humor, a pleasure to have in class. I was happy to see to see his contributions to the Richmond community.

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