Cover photo for Sanford W. Downs Jr.'s Obituary
Sanford W. Downs Jr. Profile Photo
1930 Sanford 2017

Sanford W. Downs Jr.

March 14, 1930 — April 28, 2017

Sanford Wesley Downs, Jr. , 87, departed this life for his heavenly home April 28, 2017. He was born at Hatley, MS on March 14, 1930. He was a member of the Maryville First United Methodist Church. He was preceded in death by his parents Sanford W. Downs, Sr. and Ocalla Jones Downs. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Myron, two sons, Sanford W. Downs, III (Michelle) and Donald B. Downs, (Cathy), and two grandsons, Timothy and Christopher Downs. He graduated from Rienzi (MS) High School. He graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Electrical Engineering (BEE) and received a master's degree (MS) from Vanderbilt University and a PhD from Auburn University. He began working in Huntsville, AL at Redstone Arsenal and transferred to NASA. He was involved in the early satellites and was in charge of the biomedical engineering of the first monkey in space. Some of the equipment he designed and built is now on display in the Smithsonian Institution and at the Space Museum in Huntsville, Alabama. He was also involved with many other instrumentation projects on the Redstone, Jupiter and Saturn vehicles. During his last few years with NASA, he was involved with the application of aircraft and satellite data to situations on earth. He retired from NASA in 1979 and taught engineering technology at Chattanooga State Community College, East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Martin. After retiring again in 1989, he and Myron moved to Maryville, TN, where he enjoyed the mountains of East Tennessee and his hobby of woodworking. Funeral services will be 2:00 P.M. Thursday in McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Catherine Nance officiating. The interment will follow in Cades Cove Memorial Cemetery. The family will receive friends Thursday from 1 :00 to 2:00 P.M. At the funeral home.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, May 4, 2017

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

McCammon Ammons Click Funeral Home

220 West Broadway Avenue, Maryville, TN 37801

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Cades Cove Memorial Baptist Cemetery

2342 Duncan Road, Maryville, TN 37803

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


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