Dennis Downey, a 1973 Ventura College alumnus and a member of the VC Athletics Hall of Fame, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 20, 2020. A graduate of Ventura High School, he was a standout for the Pirates in football and baseball before transferring to Oregon State.
Dennis was born on July 8, 1953 in Ventura to Donald and Ruth Downey. As a child, Dennis attended E.P. Foster, Avenue, and De Anza schools. He graduated from Ventura High School in 1971 where he was both a baseball player, playing third base and earning team MVP honors and first-team All-Channel League honors; and football player starting as a wide receiver and defensive back.
Dennis then attended VC where he excelled in both baseball and football. He was an All-Western State Conference second baseman on the diamond, but it was on the football field where he excelled. As a defensive back, he set single-season and career records for interceptions, 10 and 13, respectively, that still stand to this day. His accomplishments earned him first-team All-WSC, first team All-State and All-American honors.
Upon transferring to Oregon State, Dennis continued his exploits on the football field. His junior season he grabbed seven more interceptions, a total that is still fifth all-time in the Beavers' single-season record books.
In 2014, Dennis joined his father Don and his brother Darrell with his induction into the Ventura College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Dennis completed his education in Oregon receiving his Bachelor's degree and teaching credential. He taught and coached at Crescent Valley High School in Corvalis before returning to Ventura and accepting a position at Ventura Coast Construction with close family friend Ron Troxell.
Dennis was an avid sports fan, loyal friend, and "the best brother a brother could have." He had a huge, generous heart that he tried to hide under a gruff exterior. He was loved and will be missed by many.
Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Don and Ruth Downey as well as many dear loved ones in the Downey/Probasco family.
He was survived by his fiancé, Jeanette Muñoz, who was the love of his life; his brother Darrell Downey of Gig Harbor, Washington; nephew Josh Downey (Shianne) of Bonnie Lake, Washington; nieces Chloe and Daisy of Gig Harbor, Washington; his aunt Dorothy Catlett of Port Angeles, Washington; his aunt Millie Downey of Ventura, California, as well as many cousins and a large, loving extended family.
A celebration of Dennis' life will be held at a later date.