Clara A. Downs

April 8, 1924-November 7, 2012

Clara A. Downs of Flanders died Wednesday, Nov. 7, after a short stay at the Riverhead Care Center. She was 88 years old.

Born in Brooklyn to Gustave and Nettie Ritter, she grew up in Little Neck.

For many years, she worked as an operator in the Riverhead office of New York Telephone Company. Upon retirement, she was honored as a Telephone Pioneer of America.

Ms. Downs was a longtime member of First Parish Church in Northville. In her youth, she and her father were avid sailors. Throughout her life, she was a lover of animals, always caring for stray dogs and cats and even feeding peanuts to the squirrels on her front porch.

Although she had no children of her own, she loved serving as surrogate grandmother to her grandnephews and -nieces. All who knew her enjoyed her sense of humor. She also loved music and was still singing her favorite tunes from the 1930s and ’40s during her stay at the care center.

Ms. Downs’ husband, Willard Downs, died Oct. 12. She is survived by three nephews, Richard, David and Roger Wines; their spouses, Nancy Gilbert and Elizabeth and Cherie Wines; eight grandnephews and -nieces; and six great-grandnephews and -nieces.

Interment will take place Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m. at Sound Avenue Cemetery in Northville. She will be greatly missed.

This is a paid notice.