Litchfield-John R. Donohue, always known as Jack, died peacefully at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital surrounded by family and friends on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Jack was born December 14, 1946 in Weymouth Massachusetts, the son of the late Helen L. Donovan and William H. Donohue.
After serving his country in Vietnam from 1965-1967 as a helicopter mechanic, he returned to Boston and graduated from UMASS Boston. He continued government service as the unbureaucratic bureaucrat of the Social Security Administration, the first 20 years as a manager and then 20 years as an IT Specialist for a majority of the Connecticut offices. He retired from SSA in 2016.
When he gave retirement seminars, he always tried to focus on “retiring to something” and not “from something”. He took his own advice and found pottery at age 60 and was getting pretty good after 11 years. He and his wife Kathy were members of Nutmeg Potters, Studio & Gallery in Winsted and participated in many craft and juried art shows in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He also made dozens of bowls for The Empty Bowls Fundraiser every October for the Torrington Soup Kitchen. They both continued to hone their skills by taking classes at the Interlaken School of Art (IS 183) with Paula Shalan in Stockbridge MA. They were always up for a road trip to visit potters from Vermont to Florida, bringing home others’ work to add to a growing collection of inspiration. His love of eating made the road trips a source of new adventures in fine (and not so fine) dining. He could give you recommendations up and down the East Coast, Texas, Arizona and even Arkansas depending on your tastes. His one regret, was probably not having a last meal at Bistro Box in Great Barrington, MA.
For fifteen years they frequently (weekly sometimes) went to New York for Broadway shows and enjoyed membership privileges at MOMA, The Met, Lincoln Center etc. But for fifty years they gardened: starting with a few seeds of Portulaca mistakenly planted in shade when first living in Dorchester MA, to the huge garden they enjoyed being in for the last 38 years in LItchfield CT. He and Kathy, hopeless at minimizing, expanded to a community garden plot to grow peppers and potatoes. They made a trip to Virginia every spring to buy the pepper plants and herbs, which were another love of his. They were members of The Herb Society of America for 36 years and volunteered at the National Herb Garden in Washington DC, the Herb Garden at Elizabeth Park in Hartford and the Berkshire Botanic Gardens in Stockbridge, MA for many years.
He enjoyed being a lector at St. Anthony of Padua in Litchfield, especially with Father Tucker.
Jack leaves his wife of 49 years, Kathy, their daughter Maura and her partner Jonas Harman of Silver Spring MD, their son Matt of Litchfield, his brother Rick, and his wife Ann Marie of Weymouth, MA, niece Keri Donohue and grand nephew, Rohan of Vicksburg, MS, nephew Ryan Donohue (wife Christina) of Tampa FL and nephew Evan Donohue of Weymouth, MA.
Shortly before his death his final words to those of us in the room, including the nurses, were ‘in this unsettled world, be kind’.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 16, 2018, at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 49 South Street, Litchfield. Military Honors will be accorded in the church courtyard following Mass. Burial will be private. Friends and family may call from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, 2018, at Rowe Funeral Home, 283 Torrington Road, Litchfield.
Donations in Jack’s name may be made to the Community Kitchen of Torrington, https://www.torringtonsoupkitchen.com/ or The Herb Society of America, http://www.herbsociety.org/