Ed was a Maryland native born in Cumberland and raised in College Park. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS degree and was a member of the ΣAE Fraternity. After college, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.
After military service, Ed left Maryland for Chicago to begin his career in marketing and advertising, first for Jack Morton Productions and then, for 12 years, as an account executive for J. Walter Thompson. During his career there, he worked internationally from Germany to Australia and led the Kraft account, among others.
In 1969, he and his wife Loretta founded Downey Communications, which published a magazine for military families and a coupon supplement distributed through military commissary stores. They moved the business to Washington, DC in 1976. In 1984, the founded EmpowerIT, a research and marketing company in the retail grocery field. In the 1990’s the founded several trade publications on the publishing side of the business.
Ed was the father of two daughters, Lynda Henderson and Lisa Downey Merriam. He was the grandfather of Kyle and Kaitlyn Henderson and Lucy and Joe Merriam.
Ed served on the Cardiovascular Board at Johns Hopkins, as a Trustee of the Maryland University System, and as a Director of the Maryland 4-H Foundation. He was awarded the Tyser Medallion for outstanding service to the University of Maryland.
Ed was an avid sports fan, especially of University of Maryland teams, and is a past President of the Terrapin Club. He was awarded the inaugural Maryland Way Award,and was a member of the Maryland Athletic Cabinet. He was an avid skier, sailor and gardener.
Ed supported many causes. Among them are endowing the Clarence Doodeman Professorship in Cardiology at Johns Hopkins, the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center, Children’s National Medical Center,the Pennington Laboratory at Louisiana State University, the Eppley Center at the University of Maryland, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.