Miss Margaret E. "Peg" Downing, age 71, died early Friday evening at Berkshire Medical Center after a brief illness. Born in Pittsfield, November 10, 1948, she was the daughter of the late John F. Downing Sr. and Gertrude Martin Downing. Peg graduated from St. Joseph's Central High School in 1966, Berkshire Community College in 1968 and earned her baccalaureate degree at Trinity College, Burlington, VT in 1970. She later earned her Master in Education from Boston College.
A lifelong educator, Peg began her teaching career at St. Joseph in 1971. She transitioned to the School's Guidance Department, became Head of the Department, and went on to become the first lay person appointed Principal of the High School. Peg retired from St. Joseph in 2007 and became principal of Catherine McCauley High School in Portland, ME. Most recently, Peg was appointed principal of Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School in Lawrence, MA
Peg served as President of the Board of Trustees at Trinity College and was the recipient of the Gladys Allen Brigham "She Knows Where She is Going" Award which honors a woman annually who makes a difference in the Berkshires and is a role model for girls. Genuinely interested in bringing positive change to the lives of all her students, Peg enjoyed traveling internationally over the years with the SJHS students to help broaden their experiences. In addition to her academic focus, she also enjoyed coaching the women's basketball teams at St. Joseph's.
She is survived by her three brothers, John F. Downing, Jr. of Pittsfield and his wife, Mary, Joseph D. Downing of Westboro, Ma. and Michael B. Downing of Cambridge, MA and his partner, Peter Bryant and her sister, Mary Ann Matthews and her husband, Robert, of Trumbull, CT, her sister-in-law Pamela J. Downing of Pittsfield who survives her late husband, Gerard D. Downing. Peg is also survived by many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, John and Gertrude and brother Gerard, she was predeceased by two nephews, John Tobin Downing and Nathaniel Snow Downing.
Peg loved books, beaches and singing and sharing those pleasures with those who knew and loved her.
At Peg's request, please send no flowers. She asked that you follow her lead and donate instead to either the Haiti Plunge Relief Efforts or to Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, both in care of the DEVANNY-CONDRON FUNERAL HOME which has been entrusted with her care. She hoped you would share her commitments to education and caring for others.
SERVICES: Calling hours at St. Charles Church, 89 Briggs Ave. Pittsfield, will be on TUESDAY, Jan. 28th from 4 to 7 pm. Continuing with the Celebration of her life on WEDNESDAY, Jan. 29th at 11am, a Liturgy of Christian Burial will be concelebrated with the Rev. A. Peter Gregory, former pastor and Chaplin at Soldier On, as the chief celebrant and the Rev. Dr. John F. Touhey, the administrator at St. Charles Church, officiating. Burial will follow in the family lot with her parents at St. Joseph's Cemetery at a later date.
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