Kevin Downey

A Poem by Normandale Alumnus Kevin Downey

Kevin Downey tested at a near genius level at the age of four. In his later youth, he made some choices that temporarily took him down the wrong path, but corrected those when he received what he described as a “second chance” at Normandale.

“Normandale gave him that second chance to turn his life around, and he never forgot it,” said Downey’s best friend Helen Herrick.

He often spoke to youth groups to make sure they did not make the same mistakes he did early in his life.

Downey attended Normandale Community College from 1979 to1983, where he earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts. It was a fulfilling experience that became the foundation for a tremendously successful career.

A resident of Two Harbors, Minn., he passed away at age 57, leaving an estate gift of $124,000 to the college. Downey’s creative skills blossomed at Normandale as a writer and photographer for the college newspaper and where he helped the college’s literary magazine, Eidolon, win a national first place award and an extra honor for photo excellence.

Normandale honored his memory by converting the college’s literary magazine, The Paper Lantern (the current version of Eidolon), to an online version which combines two of his passions—the magazine and computers. The Normandale Foundation established a scholarship in Downey’s name and will also name a room on campus after him.

After attending Normandale, Downey went on to the University of Minnesota where he earned a BS degree in Geography and completed most of the required classes for a master’s degree in Engineering. He was a consultant for four years and worked for U.S. Foodservice, before working as a senior engineer at RedPrairie (computer software company) for the final 13 years of his life. Downey felt his last position at RedPrairie was a culmination of the skills he had obtained in college and throughout his professional career.

Downey’s interests outside of work included riding his motorcycle on winding back roads, snow skiing in the Rockies, playing his guitar for friends, hiking in the woods in winter near his North Shore home, making gold-medal winning wines, and framing the photos he took and developed in the darkroom.