James Cavanaugh Donahue, 86, surrounded by his loving family, passed away peacefully at home after a brief illness on Sunday, December 19, 2021.
James was born in Worcester, on December 18, 1935, to Joseph and Marion (Leonard) Donahue. He attended Gates Lane School and graduated from Boy's Trade. After high school he joined the United States Marine Corps and was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida.
On April 19, 1956, Jimmy married the love of his life Marie E. McCart. Marie predeceased Jimmy in February 2020. "Jimmy and Rie" lived for most of their nearly 64 married years in Worcester. Jimmy is survived by his six children: daughters Theresa "Terry" McGrail, and her husband Jack, Molly Donahue, Kelly Brissette, and her husband John, all of Worcester. Sharyn Gage, and her husband James of Holden. Sons James, and his wife JoAnne, and Kevin, and his wife Deirdre, all of Auburn.
Jimmy is also survived by eighteen adored grandchildren. Allie, Taylor, Bridget and Molly McGrail. John and David Brissette. Sarah Kurtz and her husband Andrew, Emily and Olivia Gage, Hannah Jacoby and her husband Carter. James, Anthony and his wife Amanda, and Joseph Donahue, Keri Zautner and her husband Iain. Joe and his wife Ali, Matthew, Colleen and Brian Donahue.
Jimmy cherished his eight great-grandchildren: Kevin, Desmond and Marcelina Donahue, Milo Zautner, Ryker, Caden, Abel, and Jax Kurtz.
He is also survived by his sisters Marion Compe and Kathryn Camp. Sisters-in-law: Susan Miller, Barbara Donahue and many nieces and nephews. Jimmy was predeceased by his brother Joseph Donahue, sisters Louise Kennedy and Irene Johnson.
In 1958 Jimmy was honorably discharged from the Marines as a Private First Class. Upon returning from the service, Jimmy became a Maintenance Man on the Massachusetts Turnpike, Auburn Depot, eventually rising to Supervisor before retiring. For many years Jimmy had second jobs: roofing and carpentry, with his good friend Willy Robidoux. He would often stay and work these jobs which allowed him to send Rie and the kids to Hampton Beach for two weeks every year.
Jimmy was very active in youth sports and his church. He was always willing, without hesitation, to give rides or extra help to any of the kids he coached through the years. He was a life time member of the Our Lady of the Angels parish volunteering as an usher, CYC mentor, coaching basketball for the eighth grade team and for over 25 years as head coach for the CYC high school basketball team. He was a baseball and softball coach for Ty Cobb Little League as well as various other teams around the city. He was an organizer of the Hadwen Park summer basketball league for the City of Worcester. Jimmy was also a founding member, first president and first head coach of the Worcester Vikings Pop Warner football team.
Jimmy took pleasure in traveling with Rie to Hawaii, Florida, Maine, Europe, trips with the Greendale Men's Club and especially visiting Ireland. He enjoyed bowling leagues, golfing, watching his grandchildren play sports and as a lifelong Democrat volunteered in many local campaigns. Mostly, Jimmy loved the simple joys of life like being with his wife Rie and enjoying their ever-growing family.
After Rie's passing he was comforted by joining good friends Moe McCarthy, Ellie Clifford, Susan Miller and daughter Molly at weekly Friday night dinners at area restaurants. Their companionship, conversation and laughter made difficult times easier for him and was appreciated by his family.
Jimmy will always be remembered and dearly missed by all who knew him. Family and friends will gather to celebrate his life with visiting hours from 4:00pm until 7:00pm on Monday, December 27th at the Callahan, Fay & Caswell Life Celebration Home, 61 Myrtle St., Worcester. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am on Tuesday, December 28th at Our Lady of the Angels Church, 1222 Main St., Worcester. Burial will follow at Worcester County Memorial Park. The family kindly asks that appropriate face coverings be worn at both the funeral home and the church.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Jude's Hospital or the Our Lady of the Angels church fund.