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Commander John "Moose" Donovan

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Commander John "Moose" Donovan Obituary
DONOVAN Commander (Ret.) John "Moose" Donovan passed away on April 11 at his home in Jacksonville, Florida following a long and valiant fight with brain cancer. He was 44. John was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, attended Cardinal Newman High School and graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 1988, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management. After graduation, he joined the Navy and was commissioned through the Aviation Officer Candidate School program in Pensacola, Florida in July 1989. In 2005, he graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Masters of Aeronautical Science. John was a lifelong athlete and a fierce competitor. In high school he was a four-sport letterman-football, baseball, track and field and basketball. He also played football at Brown and completed a half-marathon in 2000. John proudly served in the United States Navy for over 18 years, receiving the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (six awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), along with various unit and deployment awards. He was twice recognized as an entire helicopter squadron's Pilot of the Year. In appreciation for his service and in recognition of his contribution to the Navy, the annual Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet Officer Leadership Award was renamed to the CDR John "Moose" Donovan Officer Leadership Award in 2011. The award recognizes one officer from the Wing who has demonstrated inspirational leadership and has upheld the high standards and traditions of the Navy's finest officers. Upon learning of his cancer diagnosis, in November 2007 John retired from active duty to devote time to his family and friends. John will be remembered as a man of faith and courage, who was a devoted husband, father, brother, son, teacher, colleague, mentor and trusted friend. He loved his Country and was honored to have served in the Navy. The Navy and his family were his life. He is survived by his loving wife of 11 years, Celeste; his son Connor; his daughter Meagan; his father Bill Sr. and mother Charlotte; three brothers: Bill Jr. (Amber), Dave (Linda), and Dan; four nieces: Amy, Kelly, Madeline and Olivia; and, his dogs Cotton and Jenny, the latter being his very special and loved companion. He will also be greatly missed by his extended family and friends from around the world. A visitation and prayer vigil will be from 6-8pm on Friday, April 15 at Hardage-Giddens Oaklawn Chapel. A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, April 16 at 10am at St. Matthews Catholic Church, located at 1773 Blanding Blvd. with Fr. Luke McLoughlin celebrating. Interment will follow at Oaklawn with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to KTAC-Kids Together Against Cancer, a program run by St. Vincent's Healthcare Foundation that provides support to families dealing with a parent's cancer journey. Donations can be sent to St. Vincent's Healthcare Foundation, PO Box 41564, Jacksonville, Florida 32203. Please mark KTAC on the check's memo line. HARDAGE-GIDDENS OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Blvd is serving the family.

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Published in the Florida Times-Union from Apr. 13 to Apr. 16, 2011
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