Jim Donovan, beloved father and grandfather, age 84, of Foley died, Friday October 11, 2013 at The DVA Medical Center, St. Cloud. Jim was reunited with his wife of 35 years, Eleanore Julia Donovan.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 a.m. Thursday, October 17, 2013 at St. John's Catholic Church, Foley. The Rev. Daniel Walz will officiate. Burial will be in the Assumption Cemetery with full Military Honors.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 Wednesday at the Foley Funeral Home in Foley and after 9 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Parish Prayers will be at 6 p.m Wednesday evening at the funeral home. Arrangements were made by the Foley Funeral Home.
James Edward Donovan was born on October 15, 1928 in Foley, Minnesota to Jack and Helen Donovan. He spent his early years working on the family farm and playing baseball, football, and basketball for Foley High School. After graduation he attended St. Cloud Normal School and then taught grade school in Benton County for the next two years. In 1951 he was drafted into the US Army for the Korean conflict. He had many stories from his Army days and made five lifelong friends. Upon his return from the Army he started his own business, Jim's Catering Service. Around this time, he met the love of his life, Eleanore Julia Gross, and they married in 1954. Together they ran Jim's Catering for the next 28 years. He provided many people in St. Cloud with their first job either working at the shop, running a lunch wagon or catering. A generation of kids from the south side of St. Cloud owe their first job experience to Jim Donovan. Jim's extended family also worked for him and he always treasured those special relationships, especially with his nieces and nephews. He began a new career with R.L. Polk Company as a salesman. He achieved salesman of the year five out of the fifteen years working at R.L. Polk. After 35 years of marriage Jim lost his wife Eleanore, to cancer in 1988. He moved from their home on Calvary Hill where they raised their family and returned to the family farm in Foley, MN. For the next 20 years Jim lived out a boyhood dream of being a farmer on the land that has been in the family since 1857. Jim had many passions in life and a great sense of humor. Jim and Eleanor played cards with their children, family and friends. For the past few years Jim played cribbage with his friends at the VFW on Thursday afternoons. He also enjoyed reciting poems and had a special love for the poetry of Robert Service. He was an avid sports fan and more than just a Monday morning quarterback. He would go so far as to write the coaches of major league and college teams and give his advice on how to improve their win/loss ratio. Many of the coaches wrote back saying they appreciated his ideas. His love for writing editorials is how many people knew Jim Donovan. A staunch conservative in the 60's and 70's, in his later years he became a centrist and supported many liberal issues. He used the power of the pen to champion causes on issues he felt needed attention.
He belonged to many organizations including the Gilman VFW, St. Cloud VFW and the Foley Legion where he was a member of the Honor Guard. He was a member of St. John's catholic Church and the Bishop Marty Council of the Knight's of Columbus.
Jim was preceded in death by his children; William, Michael and Michelle and his wife Eleanore. His parents, Jack Donovan, Helen (Maroney) Donovan, and siblings, John, Margaret (Peg) Talberg and Mary Mulligan.
He is survived by the following; brother Jerry Donovan of Atlanta, Georgia. Daughter Patricia (Patty) and husband Bill McElwaine, and their two children Dillon and Kelly and son-in-law Chris Coy. Son, James Donovan (Jamie) and his wife, Imy. Son, Major John Donovan and his wife Leann Marie and step-daughter Danielle Marie Wilsey; daughter Caitlin Marie (Donovan) Hogan and son-in law Zac Hogan and great-grandchild Finnegan Seamas Hogan.
Daughter Cara Sue (Donovan) Noack, her husband Todd and their three children, son Ryan, and Daughters Tara and Erin. Daughter Melissa Donovan and her daughters Serita and Julia.
Jim was a dreamer and like the Man of La Mancha was chasing windmills until the very end. He treasured his Irish heritage, his family, and his farm in Foley. Jim loved being around his grand children where he could tell stories and play cards with them. He was always very proud of their accomplishments and would tell complete strangers of their successes whether they wanted to hear them or not.
Published in the St. Cloud Times from Oct. 12 to Oct. 13, 2013