Brooks Cremation and Funeral Service
4058 NE 7th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334
(954) 525-5405
Celebration of Life
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020
1:00 PM
St. Andrew's Estates North
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020
4:30 PM
Chapel of St. Andrew
Boca Raton, FL
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William A. Donnelly

1918 - 2020
William A. Donnelly Obituary
Dr. William A. Donnelly passed away on Sunday, January 5, 2020 at St. Andrews Estates in Boca Raton, FL. He was born in Paterson, NJ on November 5, 1918 and grew up in Queens Village, NY. In 1939, Bill Donnelly graduated from the University of Notre Dame where he lettered in track and cross country. He then earned his master's degree in journalism and, later, a Doctor of Education in mass media from Columbia University. He married his long-time sweetheart, Marion K. Smith, on October 11, 1941, just under two months before the U.S. entered World War II. He joined the Army's Liberty Brigade (the 77th Sustainment Brigade), and fought in the Pacific theater, serving as a field radio operator in the battle for Guam. A serious leg infection possibly saved his life, as he had to be sent stateside while the rest of his outfit went on to fight in the Philippines, where almost all of them, including his two best friends, were killed in battle.

After the war, he worked for two years at the Associated Press in Indianapolis, IN. In 1948, he and his family moved to St. Cloud, MN where he taught English and journalism at St. Cloud State Teachers College. In 1957, he moved his family to New York City for a year in order to complete his graduate coursework at the Teachers College, Columbia University before returning to St. Cloud, MN. He left St. Cloud in 1964 for Buffalo, NY, where he taught English and journalism at SUNY Buffalo State College until his retirement in 1985. While at Buffalo State, he was instrumental in starting its highly respected journalism program. Upon retirement, he was named Professor Emeritus of Journalism at SUNY Buffalo State. Bill and Marion moved to Florida after their retirement and eventually settled into St. Andrews Estates in 1999.

Marion passed away on May 4, 2002, shortly after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Bill was predeceased by his sons Jim in 2013 and Tom in 2014. He is survived by Maureen (Dan Ingram, deceased) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Kate (Jim Caher) of Eugene, OR; Janet (Mike Parnell) of Nassau, Bahamas; Bill (Diane) of Buffalo, NY; Mike (Candy) of Boca Raton, FL; Elizabeth (Phil Nelson) of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada; and Margaret (Doug Dorrie) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Bill was the loving grandfather of thirteen grandchildren, and great-grandfather of fifteen. Bill's funeral will be held on January 28th at 4:30 p.m. at the Chapel of St. Andrew in Boca Raton, FL. A celebration of Bill's life will also be held earlier in the day at St. Andrew's Estates North at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, we suggest a contribution to the ACTS Legacy Foundation supporting education for ACTS employees, a charity founded by Bill and Marion Donnelly. Contributions in remembrance of Bill Donnelly can be mailed to ACTS Legacy Foundation, 6051 Verde Trail North, Boca Raton, FL 33433.
Published in Sun-Sentinel on Jan. 12, 2020
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