Margaret Anne Donovan
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Margaret Anne Donovan

Born: August 6, 1939; in Detroit, MI

Died: September 5, 2020; in Barrington, IL

Dr. Margaret Anne Donovan, a pioneer in the field of special education and reading, passed away September 5, 2020 in Barrington with her sister at her side.

Margaret was born in Detroit on August 6, 1939. She lived the last seven years of her life in Crystal Lake, IL with her sister, Catherine DeGalan. As a young woman, Margaret -- known to her friends as Peggy -- moved to Honolulu and worked as an educator for the state of Hawaii, serving for many years as State Director of Special Education. Later in her career, she taught children's literature and reading instruction at Chaminade University, where she was named Teacher of the Year.

Margaret is preceded in death by her mother, Jean Catherine Donovan, a nurse at General Motors, and Edward Grove Donovan, a lawyer. She is survived by her sister Catherine DeGalan of Crystal Lake; her nieces Michelle Jacobs and Beth (Keith) Van Damme, also of Crystal Lake; and her nephews Richard DeGalan of Naples, Florida, and Matthew DeGalan of New York City; and her great nieces and nephews Ryanne DeGalan, Brandon Van Damme, Corinne DeGalan-Whooley, R.J. DeGalan, Catherine Van Damme, Sarah Jacobs, Christopher Van Damme and Sean Van Damme.

Margaret graduated from the University of Detroit in 1961 with a BA in Psychology and earned her Master's Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan in 1969. She received her Doctorate in Education from the University of Hawaii in 1977, with a dissertation titled The Relationship Between Modality Preferences and Programs Used in Initial Reading Instruction. Her research included extensive work with low-income children in multi-ethnic communities in Hawaii and advocated for sweeping changes in reading instruction.

As an educator, she championed the cause of better opportunities for special education students across the state of Hawaii. As a professor at Chaminade University in Honolulu, she helped train and inspire a generation of future teachers who continue to work throughout Hawaii and the mainland.

In addition to her passion for education and children, Margaret was a lover of classical music, art, travel -- and dessert (few meals ended without something chocolate coming to the table). She attended many concerts at the Hawaii Opera Theatre as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera after moving back to the mainland in 2013. She served as a docent at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, giving tours to children with special needs. Her sense of adventure took her to dozens of countries across Asia, Europe and North America, with an especially memorable trip to China in 2008 with her sister, Catherine, where they walked along the Great Wall of China and cruised up the Yangtze River.

Margaret continued learning throughout her life, participating with her sister in the McHenry County College RAP lifelong program, including the Booknook book club, where she made many new friends while reading and discussing literature.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Journey Care Foundation at 224 770 2525.



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Published in Northwest Herald on Sep. 11, 2020.
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