Robert E. DonovanApril 23, 1930 ~ November 16, 2017 (age 87)
Bob Donovan was born in Erie, PA, to Elmer and Dorothy (Young) Donovan on April 23, 1930. In his life he explored the world through travel and study; and he revealed the world to his family and his students. Bob ended his earthly travels on November 16, 2017.
Bob attended public schools in Erie and graduated from Strong Vincent High School in 1947. He combined exploration of the world with service to country in the U. S. Navy. He served four years on the USS Sturdevant DE 214 and the USS Cascade AD 16, which took him from Key West, FL, and Cuba to Gander Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador – and from Newport, RI, to London and the Mediterranean Sea, calling at ports in Cannes, Algiers, Beirut, and Damascus. Bob worked as an “Inferior Communications Electrician” and held the rank of Petty Officer. He never lost his love of electronics and technology.
In 1954, while in the Navy, Bob met and married Mary (McCarthy) Donovan, RN, of New Bedford, MA. They settled in Erie and raised five children. The family grew to include 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Mary preceded Bob in death in 1994, but the others survive Bob and include: daughter Jackie Susi of Portland, OR, with children Scott (Tonya), Karyn (Dave) Korman, and Matthew (Gabby); son Neil of Edinboro, PA, with wife Heather and children David and Libby (Phil) Haer; son Peter of Harmony, PA, with children Joel (Maggie Lu), Molly, Bailey, and Hannah; son Tim of Erie; son Matthew of Fairfax, VA, with wife Dianne and sons Jack and Sam. Bob is survived by his sister Mary Ann (Tom) Ritter and Richard (Peggy). And he is survived by his wonderful, loving, and dearest friend, Eileen Cutri. Her companionship for more than 20 years enriched his life and gave him joy.
Bob graduated with a BA from Gannon U. and with an M.Ed from the University of Pittsburgh – with further studies at Penn State Behrend, Westminster College, and Bridgewater College, MA. He taught history and English at Roosevelt and Memorial Junior High Schools and was a guidance counselor at Penn, Jones, and Washington elementary schools. In 1968, Bob became an assistant principal at East High. He was elevated to elementary principal in 1972, serving first at Burton Elementary, then at Harding and Jefferson schools. He retired from the Erie School District in 1988 with 36 years of service.
Bob served the community in many ways: He visited shut-ins. He was a charter volunteer at the new Erie County Library, helping patrons with computer access. He was on the boards of the Glenwood Park YMCA, Big Brothers and Sisters of Erie, the Erie Bridge Association (Building Committee), and was one of the founding members of the Erie Association of Children with Learning Disabilities. He was an 8-gallon contributor to the Community Blood Bank.
Passions included: his kids; duplicate bridge; amateur radio (WB3EYR); word puzzles (NYT crosswords, cryptograms, jumbles); reading (biographies, British mysteries, history); the stock market; travel; elder hostels; cooking; and computers.
Memberships included: St. Andrew Church, Erie Bridge Association, the Erie Maennerchor Club, PSEA (local treasurer), NEA, and the Glenwood YMCA.
He was known for ironing out the inevitable misunderstandings that befall a close family. He was fluent in reading words backwards on billboards. He attributed his success in life to his mother and his wife. Many attribute their success in life to him.
Friends are invited to call at the John J. Quinn Funeral Home, West 9th & Liberty St. on Sunday from 1:00 PM until 5:00 PM and are invited to attend Prayer Services there Monday at 9:30 AM followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00 AM in St. Andrew Catholic Church. Burial will be in Trinity Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Andrew Church or the Erie County Library Association Book Fund.