JOHN D. DONOVAN
1918 - 2020
{ "" }
Share
Share JOHN's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
DONOVAN, John D. Of Walpole, MA (formerly of Needham and Westborough) died on August 14, 2020 at the age of 102. Born in Peabody, MA on February 15, 1918 he was the son of Ellen and John A. Donovan from Mayo and Cork, Ireland, respectively. He was the brother of the late Helen O'Keefe and was married to his beloved wife, Mary Phipps of Waltham, MA for 63 years until her death in 2013. His blue eyes, wit and wisdom will be missed by his devoted daughter, Christine Moynihan and her husband, Frank as well as his cherished grandsons Michael, Brian and Adam Graber and their wives, Virginia Garcia, Stephanie Graber, and Nicole Graber. His great-grandchildren Eleanor, Harlan, Nicolas, Madeleine, Owen, and Colin Graber adored their great-grandfather, Boppa and he adored each one of them in turn. He also leaves his son, John D. Donovan, Jr. of Wayland, John's wife Donna Hale and their daughters Caitlin and Molly Donovan. John graduated from St. John's Prep in Danvers in 1935 and earned his BA at Boston College in 1939. He then completed his master's degree at BC before continuing towards his doctorate at Harvard. His PhD studies were interrupted when he joined the army to serve in WWll. He landed on Omaha Beach shortly after D-Day as a medical officer in the 83rd, "Thunderbolt Division". He was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism when, upon learning of casualties in Gey, Germany, he went alone to care for some wounded troops and affect their successful evacuation. He was promoted to Captain and honorably discharged in 1946. In June of this year, he was recognized by the French government for his wartime service as a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. After the war, he completed work on his doctorate and began teaching at Fordham University. He returned to Boston College in 1952 becoming the first Chairman of the Sociology Department. He taught there until 1988 and then continued teaching part-time as Professor Emeritus until 2002, a total of 50 years. He wrote many scholarly papers on the Catholic Church and the dilemma of priestly celibacy and authored "The Academic Man in the Catholic College". He was a visiting professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium and at Dublin University in Ireland. Over the years at BC, he helped create the Student Athlete Assistance Program and Boston College's Retired Faculty Association. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, August 18, at 11am. Friends are invited to gather at St. Joseph's Church in Needham. Respecting best practices for gatherings during the Covid 19 pandemic, facial coverings must be worn. Interment will be private. Funeral arrangements by George F. Doherty and Sons Funeral Home, 1305 Highland Ave., NEEDHAM. John's family wishes to thank the residents and staff at New Pond Village in Walpole where he lived from 2013 until his passing, for their friendship, compassion, and unsurpassed care. They also wish to acknowledge the support of VNACare Hospice and BIDMC in Needham. In lieu of flowers, a remembrance in John's name supporting scholarship can be made to St. John's Prep Office for Institutional Advancement, 72 Spring Street, Danvers, MA 01923 or to Boston College Office of University Advancement, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. For online guestbook, gfdoherty.com. George F. Doherty & Sons Needham 781 444 0687


To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Boston Globe from Aug. 15 to Aug. 16, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
AUG
18
Mass of Christian Burial
11:00 AM
St. Joseph's Church
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
3 entries
August 20, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Jessica
Friend
August 20, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Jessica
Friend
August 16, 2020
Mr. Donovan,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country when you served with the U.S. Army in Europe during WW II. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.
Mike Casey(former Ma resident)
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences