Joseph S. Donnell III
Virginia Beach - Joseph S. Donnell III crossed over the bar to be with his maker on March 28, 2012. A native of Winchester, Massachusetts, he was the son of Cdr. Joseph S. and Alice C. Donnell Jr., and born in Annapolis, MD January 21, 1932. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the naval reserve, serving briefly as an AD3 at Oceana NAS in 1949. Always an adventurer, he drove to Alaska in late 1949 with three of his teenage high school classmates, to work first mining gold at a placer mining site 33 miles north of Fairbanks, owned by United States Mining Refining and Smelting, and later on construction of Elmendorf (USAF) airfield and then Point Barrow. He returned to Tufts University with a regular NROTC scholarship graduating in 1954 as a Civil Engineer.
He entered the navy and, although he originally did not intend to make it a career, served 39 years (3 enlisted reserve), achieving the rank of Vice Admiral. His first ship, USS Leary (DDR-879) was followed by command of the minesweeper Kingbird (MSC-194) and then to chief engineer on the Sellers (DDG-11). Other sea tours included XO of the Coontz (DLG-9), command of the Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23), and command of the Sterett (CG-31). He also served as N-5 on 7th Flt. Staff Yokosuka Japan, CofS COMCARGRP5 in Subic Bay Philippines and CRUDESGRU 12 in Mayport, FL where he served as battle group commander aboard the America and Saratoga. Shore duty included NAVWARCOL, SURPAC staff, CRUDESFLOT-4, OP-613, OP-601, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, J-33 Joint Staff, deputy J-5 Joint Staff and Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Force US Atlantic Fleet.
Although reluctant to admit it to his blackshoe brethren, he originally aspired to be an aviator but was 11 pounds over the (then) limit of 200 pounds. But flying was a passion so he used the GI Bill to acquire all ratings up to ATP, and for years flew his C-421 Golden Eagle Cessna. Trips to Florida and Maine were frequent and combined for over 4000 flight hours total.
After retirement, he worked for QED Systems of Virginia Beach and AT&T. He was active in the Navy League, Make-a-Wish, Surface Navy Association, Association of Naval Aviators, the AFYMCA, and USO. A lover of animals, he was generous giver to various animal charities as well as to those for various diseases.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife Judy, daughters Sandra, Erin Scarpa, Lisa Woods, and sons Michael Mawn and Brian Donnell, plus 11 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
No flowers. Donations in remembrance can be made to the local SPCA or the Wounded Warrior Foundation.
Details for Arlington National Cemetery will be provided at a later date. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com
-Secure the line, one last time.