Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hugh and Sharon Downing with Paula Tucker and John Olesky

There’ll be a lot of ho-ho-ho’s in the Downing home

Retired printer Hugh Downing and wife Sharon, married since 1960, moved from Medina to The Villages, Florida 15 years ago.

They’re getting ready for some serious family reunions for Christmas.

Their sons Chris, Mark, Ben and Jonathan will be showing up for Christmas. Hugh will be running a shuttle (the family car) to and from Orlando Airport to pick up and return family members.

As usual, 1970s State Desk reporter Paula Tucker and John Olesky got together with the Downings for a chew and chat at Ruby Tuesday’s in the Spanish Springs section of The Villages.

Even though John is only in The Villages for 8 days, before flying to Ohio with Paula, Hugh and John managed to play golf at Briarwood executive golf course.

Paula liked The Villages so well that she bought a home there.

The Downings lived in the city of Medina during Hugh’s BJ days. They had three houses, one at a time, including one they built on three-fourths of an acre.

Then came the lure of The Villages, where you have to be 55 years old to buy a house, and where every day is playday – golf, free concerts and dancing in several town squares every night of the year, card games, pickleball (ping pong paddles on a tennis court), 2,200 clubs for every hobby imaginable.

There are 114,000 residents with 50,000 golf carts that are used to get around the town and on the 47 golf courses.

Sharon grew up in Galion, Ohio and is active in several sports in The Villages. There are more than 300 activities listed on the calendar EVERY day.

Son Chris Downing lives in Hudson. Mark, Ben and Jonathan reside in Toledo, Vienna, Virginia, and Erie, Pennsylvania. The four sons – with their wives’ help, of course – have given Hugh and Sharon seven grandchildren.

Hugh and Sharon have another reason to be happy. They were among the retired printers in the health care lawsuit against the Beacon Journal. A judge’s preliminary injunction restored their prescription co-pay benefits, made the BJ reimburse them for their extra prescription costs above the retirement-day co-pays and reinstated secondary insurance coverage, which usually pays the 20% of the costs that Medicare allows but doesn’t pay. Medicare pays the other 80%.

Only those printers named in the lawsuit got their $5 co-pay prescription benefits back.

Plus 5 Guild retirees, including Olesky who filed the lawsuit on their behalf, are saving thousands of dollars a year under the terms of the successful lawsuit.

If you want to contact Hugh and Sharon, their phone number is (352) 789-7481. Their email address is Their U.S. mail address is 17900 S.E. 87th Bourne Ave., The Villages, FL 32159.

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