Cover photo for Mike Downey's Obituary
Mike Downey Profile Photo
1948 Mike 2023

Mike Downey

August 9, 1948 — July 24, 2023

Lee's Summit

John Michael Downey, 74, of Lee’s Summit, MO, passed away Monday, July 24, 2023, after an 18-month struggle with MDS and leukemia. He was born August 9, 1948, to Dr. James (Jim) Downey and Clara (Haas) Downey in Kansas City, MO. He attended St. Agnes Elementary, Rockhurst High School (class of 1966). He earned a BA degree in English in 1970 and MA in 1972, both at Notre Dame University.

As a teenager, Mike knew he wanted to teach and write. He did both with dedication and determination, using his talents to help his thousands of high school and college students become better writers and thinkers. He wrote successful plays, musicals, screenplays, poem and short stories. In later years he tutored many students in the KC area, preparing them for success on the ACT, SAT and other certification tests.

Mike had two sons with his first wife, Mary Ann Hess. He loved spending time with them, attended their sports events, and was very proud of the fine men they became.

He was an adventurer and athlete at heart—loved tennis, golf, running, walking, baseball, cross-country skiing, football, ping-pong and foosball. He met his wife, Lelain, while both worked at MCC–Penn Valley Community College. They married in 2002 and had a great life traveling together, bird-watching, cooking, gardening, writing, listening to music, attending plays and visiting with friends and family.

Mike is survived by his wife Lelain of Lee’s Summit; sons Kevin & wife Kathy, Ben & wife Lindsey, of South Bend, IN; step-daughter Sofie Grace of Micanopy, FL; 13 wonderful grandchildren; his sister Karen Downey of Kansas City, MO; his nephew Jason Tirk, Kansas City, KS; a great-nephew and great-niece; his 102-year-old aunt Dorothy Shelley, Daytona Beach, FL; and many, many cousins.

Celebration of Life will be Saturday, July 29, 2023, with visitation from 2-3 p.m. and the celebration from 3-4 p.m. Casual dress is suggested.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, via a web page in Mike’s honor:

Register Below to watch the live streaming of Mike's Celebration of Life.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mike Downey, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, July 29, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 29, 2023

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)


Click to watch

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


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