Downing Kay on her 110th birthday.
Downing Kay was born Downing Jett in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, as one of five children born to her parents. She grew up in a rowhouse in the Walbrook section of Baltimore. Her father was a clothier on West Fayette Street. She, along with her parents and four siblings, later moved to a house on Carlisle Avenue in Forest Park. Growing up, her household was a strict Methodist one. Downing and her siblings would often dance along to their Victrola (a kind of gramophone).
Downing graduated from Forest Park High School and Maryland State Normal School (now Towson University) and later became a schoolteacher. She married a man with the surname Kay and had an unreported number of children with him. When her younger child started school, she became a kindergarten teacher, and, eventually, head of the preschool, a position she held for 20 years.
Every morning until she was 100, she drank the juice of half a lemon mixed with warm water. She only stopped because she’d “lived to be 100, and thought that was long enough.”
Downing remained mentally sharp as a centenarian, still playing Scrabble when she was almost 109. By this time, she had several grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. On her 110th birthday, she was wheelchair-bound and couldn’t hear very well, but was easily able to give an interview, at the end of which she said: “Honey, you’ve asked me enough questions.”
Downing Kay died in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 15 May 2020 at the age of 112 years, 174 days.
- DOWNING JETT KAY '31 Towson University
- Almost 109, and still going strong, honey The Baltimore Sun
- She's HOW old?!! Happy 110th Birthday to Downing Kay! WBFF FOX 45 (Facebook)
- Downing Kay, likely Maryland’s oldest resident, turns 112 in Towson The Baltimore Sun, 26 November 2019
- Downing Kay, likely Maryland's oldest resident, dies at 112 The Baltimore Sun, 17 May 2020