Our father, John P. Donovan (a.k.a. Jack), left this world at home in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec, 30, 2020.
Dad was born on July 7, 1928, in Goshen, N.Y. His three sisters and two brothers were raised with strong Irish Catholic values by their parents, Joseph C. Donovan and Margaret Curtin Donovan.
Jack excelled in school, graduating valedictorian from Saint John’s High School class of ’46 (#1 out of a class of 6! ).
No flash in the pan, he then excelled at Villanova University (go Wildcats!), graduating in 1950 with an English degree.
After serving three years as a Naval Officer during the Korean War, he earned an MBA in 1955 from the University of Michigan. While in Ann Arbor, he met Nancy C. Anderson, who became his inspiration, his muse and love of his life. They married on Oct. 6, 1956, and had five boys.
Dad was a steel man his whole career and he excelled at all levels, including corporate executive and wildcat entrepreneur.
Mom and Dad taught us compassion, environmental stewardship, equality and self-sufficiency. They opened our home to foreign exchange students, employed adults with special needs, welcomed in less fortunate youngsters, grew much of our food and really knew how to stretch a dollar. Wherever we lived, they were active in the local Catholic Church.
The product of an old school liberal arts background, Dad never lacked for confidence. He was quick witted, a voracious reader and always eager to discuss (and, of course, to debate) literature, politics, sports or business.
An excellent cribbage and card player, he also appreciated a nice cigar, martinis (not too dry) and good food.
Dad traveled extensively for work and he also enjoyed roaming near and far with Mom and his family. Growing up, we had memorable summer road trips visiting family in Florida and back in Goshen ... all of us in the van, Dad subjecting us to miles of second-hand cigar smoke.
Mom died way too young and her passing was devastating. It was his grace and optimism that buoyed and sustained him (and by extension us) then, and in countless other challenging times. This was his hallmark and legacy to us. Jack Donovan opted for life and for living, for acting and for doing, and not sulking or sitting still.
Dad will be missed greatly by his sons and all those who were lucky enough to have known him.
He is survived by his five sons and seven grandchildren: John and Kristi of Sedona, Arizona; Andrew and his partner Belinda of Houston, Texas, and his daughter Natalie (Thomas Dixon) of Atlanta, Georgia; Thomas, his daughter Jacqueline and son Neil of Oakland, California; James and Cam and their daughters Samantha and Anne of Charlotte, N.C.; Patrick and Kimberly and their daughter Margaret and son John of Zionsville, Indiana; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife Nancy, his brothers Joseph R. Donovan and J. Robert Donovan and his sisters Marilee Dardenne, Suzanne Donovan and Carole Regal.
Dad’s core group of friends in Charlotte, including Marlene Waller, Chris Materazzo, Frank Espinoso, Belle Radenbaugh, Christine Fritts and Kathleen Wood, will always have a place in our hearts.
A special thank you to the caregivers of Visiting Angels, especially Jackie Rice, and Novant Health Hospice in Charlotte for their loving care and support during his final years.
Also, the family would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to Hankins and Whittington Funeral Home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Donovan Funeral Home in Goshen, for their care during this time.
A funeral service was held in Charlotte, N.C., on Jan 2.
A wake will be held Friday, July 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Donovan Funeral Home in Goshen.
A Mass of Christian Burial and celebration of life will be the following day, 10 a.m., at St. John the Evangelist Church in Goshen.
In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Novant Health Hospice in Charlotte, N.C.