Kenneth B. Donovan
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DONOVAN, Kenneth B., passed away unexpectedly Thursday, September 6, 2007, at his home in Tampa. Ken was a man of courage and conviction. He will be greatly missed by his beloved wife, Caroline Jett Donovan, and his extended family and friends, as well as the communities of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, Fla. Ken was born Walter Kenneth Baggett December 19, 1948, in Hope Mills, N.C. He was raised in Tampa, and in 1968 he graduated from Hillsborough High School,where he excelled in basketball and was named to the All-City, All-Conference, Times All-Star and All-American teams. He received a bachelor' s degree in pre-med from the University of Tennessee on a full basketball scholarship, and was a 9th round draft pick for the Boston Celtics. He later returned to UT Medical School. After graduation, he chose to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam with honor and distinction and received three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star with a cluster, the French Croix de Guerre and the Vietnamese Medal of Valor. A gentle giant and modern renaissance man, Ken' s interests ran from being a guest lecturer at the University of South Florida in quantum and astro physics to playing Captain Morgan for Seagram Co. Ltd. He wrote and published screenplays and children' s books, and was a 5th degree black belt and instructor in Tai Kwon Do. He was a familiar face at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival, playing his favorite character, Seamus O' Donovan. He was a radio disc jockey in Louisiana, Kansas and California. He was an actor of stage, films and television as well as an anti-crime commentator on local Tampa radio and television affiliates. Ken never met a person who remained a stranger. Though he traveled the world extensively, he always remembered where he came from, serving meals in the local food kitchens, sharing breakfast regularly with childhood friends and opening his front door to anyone in need. But what he was most professionally proud of was his role as the creator and editor-in-chief of The Crusader newspaper for fifteen years. He and Caroline worked tirelessly for victims of crime and domestic violence by identifying criminals, working with local law enforcement and finding missing children. In 1996, he was recognized by Peter Jennings as a "Person of the Week" for his single-handed efforts to eradicate crime in the Tampa Bay communities. Once he became a public persona, he changed his name legally to Kenneth B. Donovan in honor of the late Norton and Margaret Donovan of Tampa. Besides his wife of 17 years, he leaves a daughter, Leticia Ruth, son-in-law, U.S. Navy Cdr. David Ruth, and grandchildren, Christian, Eliana, and Elizabeth of Monterey, Calif.; and three brothers and their wives, Michael and Carol Baggett of Pallyup, Wash., Daniel and Debbie Hammer of St. Charles, Mo., and Donald and Cindy Hammer of Dade City, Fla. He was predeceased by his mother, Laverne Hammer, and his brother, Wayne Carlos Baggett. He was the cherished son-in-law of retired U.S. Navy Capt. William and Sarah Holt Jett of Bloomfield, Conn., who considered Ken their eldest son. He was also a true older brother to Anne Jett Owens and her husband, Vernon Owens, of Mt Pleasant, S.C., and Peter Holt Jett and his wife, Liza, of Liberty Lake, Wash. He was especially proud of his two nephews, Joshua Hammer of Dade City, Fla., who is following in his scientific footsteps, and Peter Sherman Jett of Warwick, R.I., who is following in Ken' s service to country. The memorial Eucharist will take place at 1 p.m., Thursday, September 13, at St Clement' s Episcopal Church, Forest Hills, Tampa. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Child Protection Education of America, 410 Ware Blvd., Ste. 710, Tampa, FL 33619, to the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231, and/or the Caroline Jett Ken Donovan Memorial Fund at Bank of America.

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Published in TBO.com on Sep. 11, 2007.
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34 entries
September 30, 2007
Caroline, I am SO very sorry to hear of this terrible loss. I loved Ken and, as everyone knew, he was an exception - a giant of a man (literally and in every other way). Please let me know if there's anything I can do.
Freda Drake
September 26, 2007
Caroline,We are so very sorry for your loss of an incredible man and husband. I only met him once at Holly; and until I read the obituary, I never realized how truly huge of a man he was. Our hearts are with you in your time of sadness.....and for whatever that we can do for you. God Bless and keep Ken alive in your memories and your heart..........
Cheryl L & Mike Guthrie
September 26, 2007
I just got the new Crusader.

This sucks.

Hopefully, the Crusader will continue, but it shall never be the same.

God Bless Ken Donovan & his family!
Dan Amend
September 19, 2007
KENS LOSS IS SO SO SO SAD! HIS LOSS SURE MAKES YOU STOP AND NOT TAKE EVERYDAY FOR GRANTED.KEN ALWAYS WAS SUCH A WONDERFUL PERSON TO CHAT WITH, IF YOU WERE NOT SMILING WHEN YOU STARTED TALKING YOU WERE SMILING WHEN YOU WERE FINISHED TALKING TO HIM.HE WILL BE GREATLY GREATLY MISSED. MY THOUGHTS, PRAYERS AND HUGS GO OUT TO YOU MS. CAROLINE AND FAMILY.
NICKY BISHOP
September 19, 2007
To lovely Caroline...
Grief is the price we pay to have loved someone so dearly and deeply. We are with you not only now, but whenever you need us.
Ryan and Kerri Renz
September 19, 2007
Dear Ken,
I will miss your visits and our talks, greatly. You made me smile and laugh everytime you came into the office. You brightened Sammie's days more than you can know - she loves you dearly.
Love and hugs,
Deborah Schmeltzer
September 18, 2007
It's been years since I last found myself in the good company of both Ken and his sweet wife Caroline. (She and I bookd a TV commercial together too!) Ken...He was a 'real' man, and I feel his loss even now. The good people around us often are called home far too soon. Such it was with Ken. I do believe souls such as Ken's rise to even greater heights and his spirit will survive until we again meet on the other side.

Please, if I might add: Caroline; I too suffered a great loss as Sue, my wife of over 44 years, passed away while at my side and without warning. In mere seconds, she was gone. My life changed forever. But....I must say to you, my dear lady....friends and family shall step forward and be of a great comfort to you. Time, for me was the only true healer....it has been just over two years and now, I can finally smile when my thoughts drift back to 'those days'. I pray that you too shall find your own peace in your own special time.

I want you to know my thoughts, my prayers, are of and with you. God Bless you and those who also share in this great loss.

Peace be with you.
Lanny Fuettere
September 15, 2007
Dear Caroline and entire Family of Kenneth "Ken" B. Donovan:

Ken’s sudden death at the yet still young age of 58, made me pause and consider the fragility of life, and to remember that none of us are promised tomorrow as stated in the Bible. I’ve learned over the years that navigating through life is like driving a car. You have a destination, and in order to effectively negotiate the journey, and reach that destination, you have to drive looking at the road ahead, with only an occasional glance in the rear view mirror. If you attempt to drive while focusing totally on the rear view mirror, you will most certainly “crash”, and you may never reach your destination.

Suffering a personal tragic loss makes all of us more conscious of our own mortality and the fleeting quality of life. It impresses upon us the urgency of maximizing every moment to make our individual contribution, and to do what we have to do to reach our goals and destinations. As Ken would say, “We must move forward”. Every moment is precious and we have no time to lose. We will be joining our departed loved ones soon enough. But as long as we are blessed with life, our focus has to be on the road ahead. The occasional glance in the rear view mirror is for a “reality check.” It instructs us as to what really matters, love of family and true friends, and only that is what survives, and makes a difference in life, when it is all said and done. Ken certainly made a big difference in the lives of so many people who are still alive today, some because of Ken and the life he lived while here on earth. Please remember that.

With the lesson gleaned from our beloved deceased's life, we must quickly shift our view back to the road ahead and engage the precarious but precious gift of life that is still ours.
Finally, we must know and understand that it will not be possible to function 100% normally, at least emotionally, for a while. We have lost an earthly presence of someone we knew, cared about, and even loved, however, he is now in a better place with our Father who art in heaven, and that is great consolation. Ken accepted Christ long before death claimed his earthly body and God accepted his soul and spirit in less than a blink.

Here on earth for each of us, we must let go of any self-blame or regrets whatsoever. As a very wise psychotherapist once said, "Don't be so arrogant as to think that you could second guess the mysterious workings of fate." God knows better than you or I. His will was done, not our own. Remember to pray in Jesus’ name and ask for His guidance daily.

I realized shortly after Ken died, that people grow in their lives like trees, some are long-lived, like the oak, and some live for much shorter times, like the poplar. All bring their own beauty into the world for different reasons. May Ken’s legacy be that he brought his kindness, love and loyalty and service to friends and family and more than a great deal of compassion and help to others in life out of love and compassion, and his own love of God.

May God bless you, and each and every one of you, every day that the Lord hath made, with good health, prosperity, and special occasions of personal joy and heartfelt love for family and friends and others you may meet in life, and may your hearts mend and your mind be filled with the loving memories of a very special person named Ken who walked and talked and shared moments of his life with you, while here on earth, and who now walks and talks with God. Selah
papa ron
September 15, 2007
I only had a chance to meet Ken once, but I considered him part of our "family" regardless. When I read about him, I realized what a hero he was, and how much he will be missed, not just by me, but by everyone he has made an impact on.
Shay VanZwoll
September 15, 2007
Godspeed Ken! We will miss your weekly visits and reading your articles in the crusader. If only others would tell it like it is( like you)the world would be a better place. Our condolences to your family and friends, you will be missed but not forgotten!!
Al, Eric & AJ Estes
September 15, 2007
I send my Love and Hugs, two things Ken always had to give in abundance... of course, I suspect he still does, and is sending them down to us right now.
Meg
September 14, 2007
Mr. Donovan accomplished what few have - he made a difference." A life well lived"
Rick Watson
September 14, 2007
GOD Bless you Ken Donovan. We will all miss you and the good work you did here on earth. All of our prayers are with you and your family.
FOP #108
September 13, 2007
With deepest sympathy. I know there are no words that can lift your grief at this time, but please know that we are with you in thought and prayer. You are never far from our thoughts and we wish you and yours all the strength, blessings and light to help guide you through this most difficult time.
Michelle Carpentier
September 13, 2007
I only had the pleasure of meeting Ken one brief moment and found him to be very happy and kind. RIP
Lisa "LadyAnn" Church
September 13, 2007
Though we never had the opportunity to meet Ken, our hearts and souls are filled with sorrow of his so very sudden passing. We have had the privledge of learning about him through friends and articles that have been published. And now we really wish we would have had the opportunity to get to meet and know him. He was a most extrodinary man. His accomplishments with lost children and criminals has been extraordinary. He has touched so many lives. He gave so much, so willingly, so graceously, and never once wanted anything in return. All he wanted was to make our world a better and safer place. And he did!! Just by being a part of it, he made it a better place. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with Caroline and their family.
Chuck and Wendy Hough
September 13, 2007
From your friends in the Arbor Consort, Our most sincere condolences to Caroline and all of Ken's friends and family.
May you all find strenghth in each other during this trying time.
Arbor Consort
September 13, 2007
it was certainly too early for this man to pass on..but as friends and family have put it he lived larger than life and he was larger than life...It was God's time for him to return home and that is what truly matters here...the amount of memories flooding everyones mind right now are endless and match the tears that are being shed for the good and sad times that we all shared with our great big Scotsman!! I pray that his life as he lived and now during his death, that this was just the begining of the hope and truth that he shared with us..that as we all share he will con't.. to touch us all and teach us all many many things...life is short yes this we found out, 58 years are not enough on this earth but in those 58 years this man did so much, I just hope that I can do half the things he did by the time I'm 58. Life is grand....and Ken was beyond anything we could ever hope or dream to reach!

Please join me in my own tears through my memories of Ken, the man that cared for us all as his own children!
Crystal Wood
September 12, 2007
I was shocked to hear of Ken's sudden death. I had just seen him the day before. Ken would come in my office and always had time to sit down and chat. He had lots of stories to tell of his growing up and being the Marlboro Man and his acting career. He kept up with me and my fellow bondsmen and always wanted to make sure we were okay. He'd even call me to check on other bondsmen when they were down and ask me to check on them and hopefully put a smile on their face. He loved us and we loved him. He was definitely a caring man and loved his work and he will truly be missed, but he's in a wonderful place. I'll definitely miss seeing him and I send my prayers to his wife and family.
Pamela Reynolds
September 12, 2007
Ken Donovan you were one of the finest men I ever knew. Bill and I will miss you terribly but we look forward to seeing you on the other side of Heaven's Gates! Your handsome face will be one of the first we'll be looking for when we get there. Save us a good spot!Rest in peace my sweet prince and dearest friend.
Karen Loos
September 12, 2007
Dear Caroline and Family Members:
May God bless you and each of you and give you the strength to get through this time of loss and grieving. Please know that so many people share your sense of loss and grieve with you. Ken was a very special man and a friend to everyone who stood for decency and love of others in life, and the great work and love and compassion he shared with you first and then with others has the rippling effect of spreading love like the concentric outward smooth ripple waves of a single rain drop hitting the surface of still water, and his loving effect will always be felt by those who knew him and loved him. We should take comfort in knowing that Ken now sits at the side of God and will be checking in on each of us from time to time. May God give you all that you need and more in life to continue on Caroline.
Cheri York
September 12, 2007
May God in His Grace and Wisdom Bless Caroline and all family members during this time of personal loss and grief and ease the pain we know you are feeling. Ken was a wonderful man and friend to all who embraced goodness in life. He will be missed but not forgotten by those of us who met him.
Willaim R. Crumbley, M.D.
September 12, 2007
I am very saddened by this shocking news. I have known Ken and Caroline for a long time and have shared birthday's and holidays with them. I also had the pleasure to work with Ken when he worked for Seagram Co. Ltd. as Captain Morgan and have watched his many talents at the renaissance festival as well. My condolences to Caroline and family-
Barbara Wright
September 12, 2007
My sincerest condolences go out to Caroline, Ken's family, and his many worthy friends. May the good Lord bless him and keep him.
Joshua Hamel
September 11, 2007
We never knew, our high school friend, Ken was so accomplished.An American Hero
Kathy Roberts Kibler
September 11, 2007
Our priviledge to have met you in 1999, Ken. You were always a true and great supporter of our craft.
Tom & Deanna Bennett
September 11, 2007
Caroline and family, Ken will surely be missed. He was such a great man. I sent him Missing Children Photos from Missing Children Help Center. He was a joy to work with and such a gentleman.
Pat Smith
September 11, 2007
I was saddened to hear of your sudden death. Although we were cousins by marriage, we were great friends before that. Some of our memories will stay between us two. We shared many laughs and a few tears. My deepest regrets to Sylvia, Leticia and her family and Caroline, whom I have not met. You were one of a kind. Rest in peace.
Carol Simmons Adcock
September 11, 2007
This is a sad time for the Donovan family , My prayers and thoughts are with you, Ken was a man of courage , a great leader, a thoughtful and loving person, he had never met a stranger , he was a friend to all we will miss him tremendously. The Tampa area has lost a great man and now we must carry on , Remembering Ken will keep his spirt alive forever remember all the great works he has done,Heaven is the place where Ken is now .
dee and jack earl
September 11, 2007
Words can not express the greif felt at the loss of such an awesome man. Our prayers are with his family.
Jon & Lisa Butts
September 11, 2007
Ken was a great man who will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and everyone who had the fortune of getting to know this tru gentleman.
Jobsite Theater
September 11, 2007
Ken

We really miss you good buddy!
With love & sorrow.

Antonio & Jacqueline Tamburri
Antonio & Jacqueline Tamburri
September 11, 2007
We are deeply saddened by the tremendous loss not only for Ken's family but for the community as well. Ken was a great person who touched many lives and he will never be forgotten. Our deepest sympathies goes out to his wife and family.
Julie Price
September 11, 2007
My wife Cheri and I and memebers of our family offer our deepest condolences to Ken & Carolyn's family. Ken's untimely death was a shock to all of us, and the sense of deep loss saddens us all. I do know that everyone who ever met Ken knew he was a worthy friend who would help others in any way that he could in life. We have lost a wonderful friend and a great man of good character who never gave up the good fight for human decency, law and order, and help for the children in this world. Ken is now in a far better place, and I am sure he would want us to remember him as the smiling affable confident and good friend who will be watching over all of us from heaven above. May God bless all that will miss him and replace the tears of sadness with tears of joy for all the good things Ken did while here on earth, and for all of the positive ways Ken touched the lives of so many people while he was here on earth, and may we each, in our own way carry on his legacy of helping others, assisting law enforcement whenever possible, and protecting our future by protecting our children. We'll all miss you Ken, you made our world alot safer and better for us and our children, and you will never be forgotten. Our prayers are now with your family Ken. In His Service, we are
Ron & Cheri York, Sr.
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