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John K. Donahue M.D.


1927 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
John K. Donahue M.D. Obituary
John K. Donahue, M.D.

Elizabeth - The Lord called John "Jack" K. Donahue, M.D., age 90, to be with his beloved wife, Joan "Pick" Donahue, and son, Brendan "Jerry" Donahue, on February 1, 2018. He was born in 1927 to Marie Donahue, nee Kopf, and Floyd J. Donahue, a former Police Commissioner of the City of Elizabeth. He was a founding member of the Donahue Surgical Group and practiced general and thoracic surgery in Elizabeth for over 40 years before he retired in 2002.

As a third generation lifelong Elizabeth resident, the City of Elizabeth and its community were an immense source of pride in his life. He often talked fondly of attending St. Genevieve's Elementary School and growing up in Elizabeth. It seemed that contributing to the city he called his home lived in his heart for his entire life. Like many young men of his time, he left home after high school to enlist in the military. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1945 and served on Johnson Island in the Pacific. He was honorably discharged from there in 1946. After serving his country, he attended St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, earning a B.S. in 1950. He then attended Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, DC, graduating in 1954. Upon graduation from medical school he received the James A. Cahill Award in Surgery from Georgetown. The award was a great source of pride for Dr. Donahue and the award sat in the family's living room until his death.

In 1953, his 4th year of medical school, he met the love of his life, Joan "Pick" Reinhart. Joan was a beautiful, fun loving, kind nurse who he met and ardently courted. She hailed from Cumberland, MD and in 1955, while a surgical resident at Georgetown, he and Joan married. She was beside him every step of the way as he continued to build a distinguished career in the field of medicine, all while building their family together. They had four sons, John, Joseph, Brendan and Brian. Joan moved their family between NY, Washington DC, New Orleans and NJ with great aplomb, as he pursued his career in surgery.

While he had many work-related achievements throughout his career, one was always remembered fondly at family gatherings. He left his surgical practice in Elizabeth in 1966 for a one year thoracic surgery fellowship at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. His whole family moved to New Orleans with him while he trained and fine tuned his surgical skills. This time was thoroughly enjoyed by his four young boys as they honed their skills catching lizards in the canal that ran behind their house and otherwise enjoying their experience in the "Big Easy."

He and his wife Joan returned to Elizabeth in 1967, a place he had always considered his true home. There they settled down and focused on raising their four boys while Dr. Donahue continued his medical career. He went on to become Chairman of the Elizabeth General Medical Center's Department of Surgery, Chief of Surgery at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital and Chairman of the Emergency Room and Trauma Committee at the Alexian Brothers Hospital.

While Dr. Donahue taught Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, the New Jersey College of Medicine, Tulane University and at New York Medical College over the course of his 48 year surgical career, he was equally proud of the fact that he taught 5th grade CCD at St. Genevieve's Catholic Church in Elizabeth and biology at Elizabeth High School for many years after he retired from the practice of medicine in 2002.

He gave of himself and his time in many ways. As a proud son of the City of Elizabeth, he was: President, New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Surgeons; a Governor of the American College of Surgeons; Chairman, Tri-Hospital Surgical Committee on Trauma; an Assistant Medical Examiner for Union County; a Parish Council Member at Saint Genevieve's; a Member of the Board of Managers for the American Cancer Society; President of the Elizabeth Board of Education; a member of the Board of Trustees at the Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ; and from 1989 until the time of his death a Member of the Board of Managers for Union County Savings Bank in Elizabeth.

Jack was predeceased by his beloved wife of 58 years Joan ("Pick") and his two sons, Steven, who died at birth and Brendan ("Jerry"), who lost his life tragically and prematurely from injuries sustained in an auto accident at age 17. He is also predeceased by his adored sister, Jane Messier and her husband Robert H. Messier, M.D. Surviving are three sons, John K. Donahue, Jr., M.D. of Elizabeth; Brian F. Donahue of Spring Lake; and Joseph ("Josh") R. Donahue, Esq., daughter-in-law Lucia V.W. Donahue, Esq., and his two grandsons, Brendan and Conor, all of Ridgewood. Also surviving are his brother, Floyd J. Donahue, M.D. and his wife Dolly, of Summit; brother in law Robert H. Reinhart, Esq. and his wife Nadine, of LaVale, Maryland; as well as numerous nieces and a nephew.

Viewing will be at St. Genevieve's Church, 200 Monmouth Road, Elizabeth, NJ, on Monday, February 5, 2018 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. with a Funeral Mass to be held at 4:30-5:30 p.m. on the same day followed by a second viewing on February 5th from 5:30-6:45 p.m. Interment will be held on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at St. Catharine's Cemetery in Sea Girt, NJ at 11 a.m.
Published in Asbury Park Press on Feb. 4, 2018
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