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DONATO, Samuel J., Jr. "Sam" Age 70, formerly of Saugus and Wakefield, died after a long illness, surrounded by his loving family. He was husband to Kathleen M. (Stafford) Donato, with whom he shared 29 years of marriage. He was born in Malden to Samuel J Donato, Sr. and Phyllis E (Barratt) Donato. He was a graduate of Saugus High School, class of 1966 and he attended Emerson College.

Sam held many occupations, mostly in the field of entertainment. He began his career as a character actor at the Pleasure Island Amusement Park in Wakefield, from there he started his long tenure with Rex Trailer's Boomtown.

In 1974, he went into the music business performing in various bands until 1980. He then formed the Class of '66, New England's Premier 60's and 70's Band, which lasted about 25 years.

He loved theatre! He performed with the Wakefield Repertory Theatre for 9 productions. Winning 8 EMACT awards. His favorite production was playing Tevye in the Fiddler on the Roof in 1999. He also did many radio shows with the Colonial Radio Theatre as a voice artist.

He worked for the US Postal Service in Andover from 1994, until he retired in 2004.

Upon retiring in 2004, he and his wife, Kathy, migrated to central Florida, where he worked for Walt Disney World & Nickelodeon Hotel in entertainment. It was always his dream to work for Disney, and to be part of the Disney Family. He returned to Salem in 2016, where he worked at Pet Smart, until he retired in 2018.

Husband, dad, papa, brother-in law and friend were some of the most cherished roles Sam played during his lifetime. He was taken from us too soon.

Sam is preceded in death by his parents Samuel J. Donato, Sr. and Phyllis E. (Barratt); his brother Ronald "Jake" Donato and his sister Denise D'Anotuono.

Many loved ones will carry on his memory, including his loving wife, Kathy, his daughter, Jennifer M. Cheever of Wakefield; his step son, Ryan M. Chouinard of Burlington, VT; 3 grandchildren, Annabelle D. Cheever, Theo J. Cheever and Harry J. Cheever of Wakefield; his niece Tricia Morrison of Amesbury and his great nephew David Morrison of Amesbury. Also, his two brother-in-laws and wives, Michael F. Stafford and his wife Loretta Stafford of Danvers; Richard W. Stafford and his wife Perla Peguero of Salem and many friends.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made to , 75 Sylvan Street, Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923 or Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Philanthropy Office, 41 Mall Road, Burlington, MA 01805.

Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Avenue, WAKEFIELD MA on Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 3:00 to 8:00. A Celebration of Life will be held at the West Side Social Club, 4 Harrington Court, Wakefield, MA on Sunday, January 13, 2018 from 1:00 to 5:00. For directions/guestbook: www.mcdonaldfs.com.
Published in The Boston Globe on Dec. 2, 2018
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