"He fought the good fight." On Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, Robert ("Bob") Dupree Donovan, age 85, took his final flight to Heaven to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pop-Pop, as he was known to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, fought valiantly for 15 months following open heart surgery complicated by COPD.
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Bob was born on Aug.17, 1927, in the tiny town of Wadley, Ga., to Gussie Dupree Donovan and William Howard Donovan. He graduated high school at age 16 and attended Clemson University briefly before leaving to join the Army Air Corps to serve in the Philippines during World War II. Following the war, he returned to Clemson University to complete his bachelor's degree in Agricultural Engineering. (He had been selected to attend West Point but declined when they told him he needed a hernia repair.) Following graduation, Bob became an Air Force pilot and served in Korea and was stationed in Erding, Germany, as an advisor to the German Air Force. This was his favorite tour of duty and gave the small town Georgia boy a chance to see Europe and learn to speak fluent German. Bob retired from the Air Force in 1970 as a Lt. Colonel while stationed at Hurlburt Field in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and was extremely proud of the fact that he served in the Air Force for 24.5 years and never had that hernia repaired!
After retiring from the Air Force, Bob embarked on a second, 40-year-long career in real estate and construction here in Northwest Florida. He established and owned Robert Donovan Realty and Donovan Construction, was President of the Home Builders Association of Okaloosa/Walton Counties, and donated his construction services to numerous charities including Sharing and Caring of Okaloosa County Inc., which honored him by naming their facility the "Donovan House." Building houses gave him almost as big a thrill as flying airplanes, but the job he treasured most was as the patriarch of his family.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Corinne. They were five weeks short of celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. He is also survived by his two sisters, Katherine Lacey and Dorothy Picard; his three children, Christine Donovan Galloway, Jarrell William Donovan and Robert Ingram Donovan; his two grandchildren, Nicole J. Monsees and James Donovan Monsees; and his three great-grandchildren, Caroline Donovan Monsees, Mckenzie Leigh Monsees and Donovan Hyatt Monsees.
Services honoring Bob's life will be held at the Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547 on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. Family visitation will be at 12 p.m. and services will be held at 1 p.m. Interment will follow at Beal Memorial Cemetery, and a Celebration of Life will then commence at Café Italia. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the Veterans Tower Memorial, P.O. Box 67, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549.
A special thank you to all the staff and residents at Wellington who loved and cared for him in his last months.
Bob was an avid golfer who always said, "It is not how you drive, it is how you arrive!"
Expressions of love and sympathy may be viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com.
Published in Northwest Florida Daily News from Jan. 2 to Jan. 3, 2013