John (Jack) Charles Donahue was born in 1934 to Alice Katherine Gray and John Leo Donahue. As a child, Jack had tuberculosis and spent the first few years of his life in a TB ward away from his family during which time his father passed away from TB. His mother, recently widowed, didn’t drive and, needing to work to support the family, was unable to visit her sick son as frequently as she would have liked.
Once released from the TB ward, Jack describes himself as a terror. He told many a tale of outsmarting Catholic school teachers, putting spray cheese on communion wafers, and tormenting dentists far and wide. As he became a teenager in Watertown, he worked various odd jobs: short-order cook at Rocco’s, soda jerk, and at a printer. He would skip school to play pool with his friends, but, with his new found job at the printer, he would print his own fake report cards to give to his mother so she wouldn’t find out (and, in true entrepreneurial spirit, sell some to his friends). After high school, Jack joined the army. It was between wars, and he was stationed in Germany. He told stories of going to the World’s Fair, playing a lot of softball, and meeting Joe DiMaggio. “War is hell,” he would quip.
After about two years of pool hustling in the army and only learning enough German to ask for a beer, he returned to the states, where he met and married Carol Ann Scott. Her twin sister, Phyllis, had been dating Jack’s cousin and set them up on a date. Phyllis would later go on to meet and marry one of Jack’s closest friends, David Mahoney.
Jack worked at Bay State Bindery for over 50 years, getting up early in the morning, working 6 days a week in Boston to support his family. He also taught night courses about book binding at a local college.
But the most important thing to Jack was his family, especially his children Steven and Wende. He was fiercely proud of both of them, as evidenced by Wende walking into any area gas station, deli, or grocery store and being asked, “Oh, you’re Jack’s daughter, right? He showed me your picture.” Anyone who met Steve already knew that he had his doctorate in chemistry and had put himself through college by being a wedding musician. That pride carried on to Jack’s grandchildren, Sean and Ian, who were the fastest hockey skaters and smartest soccer players, and David, who was so bright, talented, and handsome.
After the death of his wife, Jack crossed paths with that of his first love, Ann. Jack’s mother used to talk about “the girl down the street that broke your father’s heart” to Jack’s children, something that made steam come out of Carol’s ears. Ann and Jack, although never married, spent the next 25 years together. He would refer to her as “my lady friend” and gush about how beautiful she was if you mentioned her name.
Jack was best known for his sense of humor. He was always quick with a joke. The kind of jokes that his family often had to explain to strangers. He was friendly and kind to everyone he met. He didn’t judge people for their choices, and accepted his friends and family completely and supportively.
He loved watching the Red Sox and the Patriots, armchair coaching the players about how they should play. He loved playing golf, listening to music, and created beautiful oil paintings which he would give away to anyone who asked.
Jack is predeceased by his wife, Carol Ann (Scott) Donahue; and his sisters Dorothy Grimaldi and Katherine MacLaine; and leaves behind his son, Steven M. Donahue and his wife Sarah Lockwood Donahue, of Windsor Locks, Connecticut; his daughter, Wende Ann Donahue and her husband Ryan M. Tucker, of Tyngsboro, MA; his grandchildren Sean Donahue and Ian Donahue, and David John Tucker; and, of course, his beloved Ann (Magliulo) Marinelli of Belmont, MA.
Immediate services will be private, but a memorial service in honor of Jack will be planned for late spring/early summer. Details to follow.
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