Richard H. DonovanRichard H. Donovan, 93, passed away quietly on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, at Mineral Springs Senior Living Center in North Conway, following a brief illness.
Richard was born and raised in Swampscott, Mass., the son of Daniel A. and Bernice I. Donovan. He had one brother, Daniel "Deed" Donovan.
In his early years, Richard was a star athlete at Swampscott High School. He was a popular student with many friends and was president of his class for three consecutive years. Throughout high school Richard, a lover of music, played saxophone and clarinet in several big bands and jazz ensembles throughout eastern Massachusetts.
In 1942, Richard enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After boot camp, he was asked to remain at Parris Island as a drill instructor, an honor in which Richard took great pride. Yet, during the early 1940s, the country was fixed firmly in World War II, and he was eventually sent to the Pacific theater with the 1st Marine Division. In 1943, after participating in securing the island of Guam, he was chosen to serve as a member of the Military Police and was assigned to protect high-ranking officers, including famed Admiral C.W. Nimitz.
After serving in the Marine Corps he returned to Lynnfield, Mass., and married Eleanore M. Nelson (who died 1984). He served as president of Nel-Nick Motors in Lynn, Mass., for 30 years. Though he worked long hours, he still managed to be a loving and attentive father to his three children, rarely ever missing one of their school or sporting events.
In 1976, Richard fulfilled a lifelong dream by starting the Dick Donovan Big Band. As the leader of a 20-piece big band, Richard delighted audiences throughout New England and helped to bring authentic music from a bygone era to listeners young and old. After 32 years, he retired from the bandstand in 2008 at the age of 86.
He is survived by his daughter Betsy Donovan; his sons Baine Donovan and Brian Donovan; his granddaughters, Cori Donovan, Lindsay Mayock and Kimberly Donovan; his grandsons, Benjamin Mayock, Brian Donovan and Brett Donovan; and two great-grandchildren Griffin Stripto and Baine Stripto.
His loved ones will most miss his kind heart, sense of humor and unyielding loyalty. Richard was always quick with a joke and a funny face. He was also a patient and natural teacher, always willing to pass his knowledge on to his family and friends. He kept a perfectly green and manicured lawn and he kept his shoes shined and his pants creased. Most importantly, he kept his children and grandchildren close; as close as they will keep him today, and everyday, always.
The family of Richard H. Donovan would like to extend their wholehearted appreciation to the people who loved and cared for "Mr. D" during his final years.
A rite of honor will be held privately for family and friends at a date, time and place to be announced.