Cover photo for Dr. Joseph M. Downes, Jr.'s Obituary
Dr. Joseph M. Downes, Jr. Profile Photo
1939 Dr. Joseph 2024

Dr. Joseph M. Downes, Jr.

February 3, 1939 — March 17, 2024


LOWELL—Dr. Joseph M. Downes, Jr., 85, a lifelong resident of Lowell, died on St. Patrick’s Day morning at the Northwood Rehabilitation Center in Lowell. He was born in Lowell on February 3, 1939, and was the son of former Lowell Mayor the late Joseph M. Downes, Sr. and Frances A. (Daudelin) Downes. He was a 1956 graduate of Lowell High School.

In his early years, Joe was a prolific amateur boxer, capturing championships and outstanding boxer awards in the Silver Mittens (1953 and 1954) and Golden Gloves (1958) Tournaments. He also was the U.S. Second Army welterweight champion (1956), and participated in the Olympic trials.

He attended Lowell Tech and Palmer College of Chiropractic and received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1962. He also received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the New York Institute of Technology.

He began his chiropractic practice in 1962 in Pelham, NH. In 1977, he established Downes Chiropractic Offices and relocated to the Drum Hill area of Lowell where he treated thousands of patients until his semi-retirement in 2014. He continued to practice on a reduced schedule at Greater Lowell Chiropractic & Rehab in downtown Lowell until his official retirement in 2017.

Joe was a well-known member of the Lowell community, whose friendship and energy touched the lives of many near and far. He was actively involved in numerous community and professional organizations throughout his life, including: Past Chairman of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration of Chiropractors, Past President of the Merrimack Valley Chiropractic Society, Diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management, Past President of the Friends of the Lowell Council on Aging, Past President & Historian Ancient Order of Hibernians, Board of Directors Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, Member East End Club, Lifetime Member Lowell Lodge of Elks. He also remained involved in amateur boxing for over fifty years as a referee, judge, and more recently as Chief Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Athletic Commission Boxing Division.

Joe is survived by his five children: Brian and his wife Nancy Downes, Marcia (Downes) Bird, Timothy Downes and his partner Lyndabeth Abraham, John and his wife Susan Downes, and Joseph (III) and his wife Sena Downes; eleven grandchildren: Patrick and Colleen Bird, Madison, Carly, Jake, James, Alison, Shelagh, Rory, Kelly and Sophia Downes; his sister Frances (Downes) Moore and Robert Moore; his sister-in-law Chandra Parry; numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins; and his former spouse Karen (Shattuck) Downes. He is predeceased by his brother Michael P. Downes and his wife Imelda (O’Connor) Downes.

Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, March 24 from 2-5 PM at the MCKENNA OUELLETTE-FUNERAL HOME, 327 Hildreth Street, Lowell. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday morning, March 25 at 10 AM at St. Michael’s Church in Lowell. Per Joe's family's request, please meet at church. Burial to follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Tewksbury. Donations in his memory may be made to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lowell, 657 Middlesex St, Lowell, MA 01851.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, March 24, 2024

2:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

McKenna-Ouellette Funeral Home

327 Hildreth Street, Lowell, MA 01850

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Monday, March 25, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Monday, March 25, 2024

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 3078

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors