John Edward McDonough
1954 - 2021
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John Edward McDonough passed away from natural causes at his home in Bloomfield on January 21, 2021, his 67th birthday. He was born in Hartford, Connecticut to Estelle (McCullough) and George F. McDonough. He completed his local schooling at Northwest Catholic High School where he began his acting career brilliantly playing Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. He went on to perform at the College of Holy Cross under Ken Happe while majoring in English literature. In his junior year, he studied in Ireland at University College Dublin, staying in a working man's Rooming House which became the source for many stories later on. After graduation, he returned to his home in Bloomfield and was recruited by The Plum Cake Players Children's Theater with whom he toured Connecticut schools, as well as the Mystic Marine life Aquarium, where he was featured in two productions for four species. While perusing his acting career, he started the Weatogue Fossil Fuel Company delivering coal. While on the Hough bucket loader, he would often recite Shakespeare or lines from his newest play. As a member of the Shivram Shinola Memorial Clown Troupe, he was instrumental in the presentation of a "Feast of Fools" alternative liturgy at the St. John's Episcopal Church, as well as other events. He was co-founder of the Amelia Earhart Memorial Men's Club, a kind of Algonquin Round Table of artists and other professionals that met at the Marble Pillar Restaurant in Hartford. There they planned the Annual Arts Turkey of the Year Award Gala, with send-ups of Hartford Cultural Institutions and personalities, presented at the Hartford State House and Wadsworth Athenaeum Theater. He was a member of the Hartford Stage Company and co-founder of Company One Theater. With Sidewalk, Inc. he performed in "Thursday is a Work of Art", doing avant-garde street performance at lunchtime in Downtown Hartford. A marvelous Storyteller, with a rich voice, he was featured as the Narrator in concerts with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He was a frequent guest of Garrison Keiller's Prairie Home Companion. He recorded hundreds of Audio Books and was a favorite narrator of Jan Karon's books, creating different voices for the many characters. For several Christmases he appeared as the Good King Wenceslas at the St. John the Divine's Boar's Head Festivals. In recent years he was the Reader of passages he selected at the Christmas Angelicus concerts in Connecticut Churches, always ending with "Touch Hands" by William Henry Harrison Murray. When Hollywood wanted to revive the Captain Kangaroo television show, they held a nationwide search and chose John who entertained families for several years. He also appeared in several of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades as the Captain, once surviving a harrowing experience with a heavy rain storm while in a boat high in the air with water sloshing around him. An avid crossword maven, he solved the New York Times puzzles every day in (sometimes) record time. John loved life. He had a joyous spirit and a ready wit. He loved being around family and friends, cooking food, raising bees, singing, and reciting verse or stories. His favorite companion was Nora, a border collie who was rescued from a pound in Galway by friends Richard Johnston and Chris Hanley. He is survived by his sister Martha O'Brien of Pawcatuck, brother William McDonough of Bloomfield, nieces Marita Coombs (Bob) of Somerville, MA, Marsina Stearns (Marc) of Hadden Heights, NJ, and nephews William McDonough (Marycate) of West Chester, PA, Colin McDonough of Bozrah, CT, Timothy O'Brien (Abby) of Pawcatuck, CT, and Brendan O'Brien (Jennifer) of Ledyard, Connecticut along with several grandnieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his sister Trudy McDonough and brother-in-law John O'Brien. A private live streaming mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, January 30th, 2021 at 10:00 am at St. Timothy's Church in West Hartford, CT followed by burial in Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield, CT. Donations can be made in his honor to Chorus Angelicus, PO Box 1051, Torrington, CT 06790 or the charity of your choice. There will be a celebration of John's life in the fall when we are COVID free. John's family has entrusted the Molloy Funeral Home, West Hartford, with the arrangements. A link to the streaming will be available at www.molloyfuneralhome.com. "So until next time, be kind to each other, know that you can be anything you want to be, and remember-you'll always have friends at the treasure house."

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Published in Hartford Courant on Jan. 24, 2021.
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40 entries
April 5, 2021
I was just googling John McDonough to express my gratitude for his narrating Jan Karon's Mitford Series! And was so very sad to see he left this world.
I read the Mitford series when it first came out and now during Covid, my husband and I are listening to the audio series.
The many voices of the Mitford people and Father Tim himself have become part of our vocabulary around our house! "...... he said, meaning it!" and "Cavanagh, what don't you like?" "Blast!"
And how he could sing the hymns so beautifully - whether in Father Tim's voice or the black gospel Luella's.

My husband is a pastor so we felt the weight and frustration and the joy of these stories! But as they were read aloud with such feeling these emotions became so very real. I don't think we make it through a single listening session (while working puzzles) without tears!
What a loss to the audio world!
Thank you Mr. McDonough for making different worlds and stories come to life!
Chris & Dawn
Friend
February 19, 2021
I have just found this obituary because I was trying to find an email address for John McDonough, to thank him for his incredible audiobook narrations of 13 Freddy the Pig books. These books have pretty much gotten my 5 year old through the past year. He has listened to nine of them so far, and each of those, at least 5 times - some of them closer to 15! We live far from family, across the border in Canada, and it has been such a blessing in my life as well as my son's to hear John McDonough's beautiful, perfect capture of the rhythm, accent and humor of these books - it has made me feel at home during a lonely year as well. What an incredibly talented and brilliant person he surely was, and what a huge loss this is to all who loved him. I send my prayers and deepest condolences from British Columbia.
Suzanne
February 3, 2021
To Marty, Bill, and his many nieces and nephews, my deepest condolences. Knowing how much he meant to me, I can only imagine the void that his death creates for you. I first met John back in the 1970's at one of his performances at Real Art Ways when it was on Allyn Street in Hartford. My companion, James Sellars, had been searching for a narrator for one of his musical pieces titled "Beulah in Chicago." When I heard John's voice I knew we had found our narrator. I called him and invited him to our house. When he came in he said, "My uncle Ed lived in this house," That was the beginning of a long and full friendship that lasted until his death. For many years he used our apartment in New York City when he was recording his audible books. He collaborated with James on many works over the years, most notably "Haplomatics." He was kind enough to give a performance of "Beulah in Chicago" at James' memorial at the Hartt School of Music. a couple of years ago. When we first met John we were often hosting dinners for James' students at the Hartt School that often lasted well into the night. After the first of these parties John arrived with a pair of pajamas saying, "Since your dinner parties are so long and replete with libations, I am leaving these pajamas here in the event that it will be inadvisable to drive home." They were never used but are still in a drawer in the guest room where they will stay. I cannot believe that I can no longer pick up the phone and hear his joyous voice on the other end reading me some entertaining passage from the New York Times.



Gary Knoble
Friend
February 2, 2021
John was a great and jolly soul always a wise companion. Many fond memories of him at Vincent School and family gathering . My deep condolences to Marty and Bill and all John’s nieces and nephews
Christopher Derby Kilfoyle
January 31, 2021
My condolences to John's family and friends on their loss. John was unique in so many ways - his voice, laugh, face and big heart and smile, not to mention his many talents. We were classmates at Holy Cross and in Ireland, where he brilliantly performed Beckett's one-person play, Krapp's Last Tape. May his memory be a blessing to us all.
Paul A. Mullaney, HC '76
Paul A. Mullaney
Classmate
January 30, 2021
My deepest sympathies to John's family, whom he always spoke of with such affection. I was John's classmate at Holy Cross, and he was a dear friend during those years and beyond, though I have not seen him in at least 35 years. We both spent our Junior Year Abroad in Dublin, where John found lodgings in a tall brick boarding house on Northbrook Road. It was right out of Joyce's Dubliners, as though time stood still. I think of all the delightful visits, laughs and cups of tea that I had in that house, where Tommy Gardner ran the show and prepared tea for a motley crew of Dublin men. John fit in so perfectly and added his warmth and laughter to theirs. It was 'great craic', as they say. I had the good fortune of reconnecting with John on the phone this summer. We chatted about his upcoming audio book, our days at the school in Dublin, a visit to Drumcliffe Churchyard and the Cliffs of Moher. It just lifted me up to hear John' s voice and laughter after all the years. I am so honored to have known John. The Irish say, of one who has passed away, Tá sé ar shlí na fírinne 'he is on the way of truth'. That was the road John always took. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
Margo Griffin-Wilson
Friend
January 29, 2021
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Sheila Hall
January 28, 2021
What can one say about someone like John? We feel so blessed to have many wonderfully warm memories of time spent with him at Chorus Angelicus concerts, at performances of all kinds (Greater Tuna!), and at parties and gatherings of friends throughout the past 25 years. His sweet, adoring Nora ,his own Galway Girl, is surely curled up by his feet, contented and whole again. How wonderful that memories of John will forever make us smile and feel warm and loved. Codladh samh, a chara. Go raibh mile agat as an ngra agus na gairi. xo xo
Chris and Richard
Friend
January 28, 2021
John was my first best friend, starting in first grade at J.P. Vincent School. We used to get off the school bus at each other's house and everyone on the bus made fun of us. John loved life and fun. He was a wonderful spirit. I'm glad to know that he brought sunshine and humor to so many others during his life. We lost touch in high school but I visited him some years ago in Bloomfield. We hadn't seen each other in 50 years but our friendship didn't skip a beat. My sincerest condolences to Bill, Trudy and Martha. Rest in peace, my dear old friend.
Sheila Hall
Friend
January 28, 2021
Bill and Martha, this is a voice from your past. As very small children, we were neighbors in Rocky Hill, CT. Along with your sweet sister Trudy and my sister Mary Lou, we spent many hours together. I did not know John, as he was born after you moved to Bloomfield, but I certainly wish I had. Please accept my sincere sympathy on your loss.
Barbara Dickinson Abbate
Friend
January 27, 2021
I have so enjoyed listening to Mr. McDonough reading the Mitford series books. No one could bring Father Tim to life like he. I am so sorry for your loss.
Dana Fulk
Acquaintance
January 27, 2021
Learning of John's passing hit me like a ton of bricks. Though I hadn't seen John in a number of years we had been very close friends during and after college. To put it simply, John was not only brililant but perhaps the most talented person I've ever known. He was a true Renaissance Man. Be it gardening, playing classical guitar, beekeeping, acting, singing, etc... he was incomparable. I truly cherish every moment he and I spent together in college and at his home in Bloomfield. The world is a much poorer place without him.
Jeff Higgs
Friend
January 26, 2021
I met John when he was in a call-back audition for the part of Captain Kangaroo for the new Fox/Saban series. I performed Mister Moose, of course.
The production wanted a younger "more hip" version. John was the opposite. He was avuncular, open friendly, kind of old fashioned, definitely not 'hip'.
After performing with him for about 20 minutes. I knew we'd found our Captain.
I was just the puppeteer, but I approached the executive producer and said, we need this man. He is The Captain. They apparently agreed.
Months later, John and I found ourselves in Florida, preparing to shoot our first episode.
From day one, John set the tone for the show in a way we could have only hoped.
He came to set and the Treasure House came to life.
John touched each of us with his openness and honesty. He elevated each of us with his professionalism and skill. He was The Captain.
Our group, including the behind-the-scenes group became a family.
John was the head of that family. Sure, we had wonderful producers, directors and writers who led the show and watched over the content. They made sure we created a show we could all be proud of. But John was the emotional and if I may say, spiritual core. He drove all of us to be better, just by setting a pitch perfect example.
John was always quick to smile, usually accompanied by his wonderfully infectious laugh.
I loved working on The All New Captain Kangaroo and John was at the center of that love.
I love you John McDonough and I will miss you always.
Paul Pistore (AKA Mister Moose)
Friend
January 26, 2021
I knew John from Holy Cross and was lucky enough to share the stage with him at Fenwick more than once. I have so many good memories of him. Sending deep condolences to all who knew and loved him. His presence is, and will continue to be, very much missed.
Maryann D'Amato Wood
Classmate
January 26, 2021
So sorry to hear of John's passing. He was a good friend and neighbor. I will miss the many conversations we had over the fence with NORA at his side.
Rod Brooks
Neighbor
January 26, 2021
I have such fond memories of John and my other classmates in Dr. Happe’s classics seminar during our freshman year together at Holy Cross in 1972-73. One of our many projects was a production of Antigone, presented in one of the reception rooms in Hogan Center. John starred as Creon with Ann Markham (an equally impressive talent) appearing as Antigone. I was just awed by John’s satin voice, confidence and commanding stage presence. John was always such a jolly and charismatic personality, and I thoroughly enjoyed his many other roles in other HC theater productions during our college years.
Hard to believe it was almost 50 years ago.
My condolences to John’s family and many friends.
Rest in Peace, John.
-Edward Fox, HC ‘76
Edward Fox
Classmate
January 26, 2021
It's with quiet sadness and a sharp sense of loss that many of us learn of the passing of John. For me, and for many, many others who shared the joy of hearing or performing with John in a Christmas Angelicus concert, he brought a palpable and memorable sense of the joy, magic and delight of Christmas to life. Over the years, John so skillfully embodied his role that he truly became, in a way, the very figure of Father Christmas himself. I know I speak for many, when I say that that special season of light, love and laughter will never be the same without him. I offer my sincere sympathy and condolences to John's family, friends and colleagues. A giant of the heart and spirit has passed.

Wassail!
Bob Wilton
Acquaintance
January 26, 2021
What a beautiful radiant face.
Kathleen brennan.
Acquaintance
January 25, 2021
You have no idea how many countless hours of joy John brought to me, as I listened to his audiobooks! He will be missed! God bless
Judy
Acquaintance
January 25, 2021
John is my favorite to read and give life to all the Mitford book’s characters .Many nights he helps me to sleep.I am so glad I have the audio books .John is much loved and we will miss him very much.I am praying for his family.
Patricia Metcalf
Friend
January 25, 2021
I will miss John's unique voice and sweet nature . He narrated several documentaries for me at Connecticut Public Television and always brought sensitivity and dramatic flare to the enterprise. To work with him was pure joy. His generous nature and charming voice will be sorely missed. My thoughts and prayers go to his family for their loss.
Roynn Lisa Simmons
Friend
January 25, 2021
I worked with John in the audiobook studio for ten years. What a dear man, a delight to work with, always fun to chat with, and a total pro. I'm sad to think I won't be seeing him again. He was so much more than his voice, but, ah, what a voice. I'll remember John as a lovely person -- full of stories and fun and humanity. He might not have always felt sunny. But he always brought a light. I was very fond of John. I miss him.
Jenny
Coworker
January 25, 2021
I was priviledged to see him at Company One, and also as the Captain. Ebullient, gracious and kind to a fault, his spirit will be so sorely missed and happily remembered.
Duane Brown
Friend
January 25, 2021
A sweet and kind person with a beautiful heart and a genuine smile that would brighten up a day i had the pleasure of knowing my condolences go out to the family
Adreanne good
Friend
January 25, 2021
WOW! What a BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE! Didn't know John, but wish I had! SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE JOHN!
Ms. G.
January 25, 2021
I remember John from highschool. Always friendly and smiling. Just a nice guy..when he became
Cpt. Kangaroo I told my wife he was the perfect pick. Sorry to hear.
Joel schlank
Friend
January 25, 2021
I was at Holy Cross with John in the 70's. He was talented, larger than life, and fun to be with. I will never forget him as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. And his voice! He will be remembered.
Nancy Parkes '76
Athens, Greece
Nancy Ann Parkes
Classmate
January 25, 2021
His interpretive voice acting in the Mitford series - and hearing him sing the occasional hymn for the audio - was such a blessing! A true treasure who shall be missed by his audiences!
Julie Miller
January 24, 2021
I am also a Mitford fan and have taken journeys through John's wonderful voice. I am very saddened by his passing and pray that you feel His comfort surround you during this difficult time. God bless you John!
Leslie Porterfield
January 24, 2021
He had so many talents and such a beautiful voice. Praying for comfort for his loved ones.
Pamela Johnson
January 24, 2021
I did not know John personally, but his wonderful voice has been my companion through many life events in the form of audiobooks. I am so glad part of his legacy is narrating the Jan Karon books. Rest easy John!
Carrie
Acquaintance
January 24, 2021
I am one of the thousands of Mitford readers who will forever associate your voice with that of Father Tim. Reading about your many accomplishments and accolades, I see you were all around best suited to be the narrator. Godspeed, sir ❤
Elizabeth Rosner
January 24, 2021
I was introduced to John with the audio version of Jan Karons Mitford books... He made the stories come alive...I am so sorry to hear this news... Thank you John for giving me peace with your readings this past year..
Diane Odgers
Friend
January 24, 2021
John was a treasure and truly gifted. A fan of his At Home in Mitford narrations, Carolyn Mahon
Carolyn Mahon
Friend
January 24, 2021
I have thought of John as “Father Tim” of the Jan Karon series for years. It’s so sad that I didn’t realize all of his other accomplishments till reading of them in an obituary. His voice was magical. He will be greatly missed.
Joyce Bell
January 24, 2021
IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS I LEARNED OF JOHN'S PASSING . HE WAS A VERY SPECIAL MAN WITH SO MANY SPECIAL GIFTS. MANY OF US TRULY LOVED HIM. REST WELL DEAR JOHN KNOWING YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MISSED. CHERYL DANIELS
cheryl daniels
Friend
January 24, 2021
Bill, so sorry to ready about the loss of your brother. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this sad time.
Hope you are well.
Russ Zaccaro
Friend
January 24, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I remember John so fondly! You’re right when you say he had a joyous spirit and a ready wit! I was definitely enamored with those qualities in him. Though I haven’t seen him in many many years, I can still recall his amazing resonating voice (he shared his talents in VO with us at Aetna). RIP John!
Lynn
Coworker
January 24, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I remember John so fondly! You’re right when you say he had a joyous spirit and a ready wit! I was definitely enamored with those qualities in him. Though I haven’t seen him in many many years, I can still recall his amazing resonating voice (he shared his talents in VO with us at Aetna). RIP John!
Lynn
Coworker
January 23, 2021
John was a wonderful family friend. I enjoyed my time working for him at Weatogue Fossil Fuel! He will be missed. Peace to his family.
Robert J. O’Connor
Friend
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