George A. Donovan

Date of Passing:

May 17, 2024

George A Donovan, age 96, of Anthony Street, East Providence, a retired teacher, died peacefully in Providence, RI on May 17, 2024 surrounded by his loving family. He was the devoted husband of the late Lois (Kent) Donovan. They were married for 50 years. Born in Providence, RI on August 22, 1927, a son of the late James M and Gladys (Hermanson) Donovan, he was a lifelong resident of East Providence.

Throughout George’s long and productive life, he exemplified the ideal of Community Service. He was a World War II US Coast Guard veteran, serving on ships and islands in the Southwest Pacific area and as a shipboard radio operator on the North Atlantic Ocean Weather and Ice Patrol.
A 1956 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he also studied at the Universities of Connecticut; Notre Dame; Brown; and Rhode Island College. He was a history teacher at Central Junior High School for two years, and at East Providence High School for 28 years, teaching history, photography, and video production. He was the Audio-Visual Instructional Media Specialist for 15 years. He taught photography at the East Providence Adult Evening School. He received the East Providence “Outstanding Educator” award in 1985. He was a Past President of the Rhode Island Social Studies Association, and Past Chairman of the RI Model Legislature. For decades, he videotaped all EPHS football games and many other sports events for use by the coaches. He was a charter member of the city’s first task force to provide Emergency Response Planning for the schools, fire, and police and was instrumental in developing the city’s first Emergency Response Plan.

During the 1960’s and 70’s he worked as a TV news photographer for WJAR-TV. He received a Distinguished Service Award for over 40 years of service as a volunteer photographer for the East Providence Fire Department, documenting firefighting and training. He also produced firefighting training films for the Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corp. Fire Brigade. He was a Lifetime Member of the Special Signal Fire Association, providing rehab services to firefighters at fires & other emergencies with the Providence Canteen.
George also served as Staff Videographer for “USAR”, the RI Emergency Management Agency’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.
He was a member of the Rhode Island Educational Media Association, and initiated the annual RIEMA Student Video Production Contest for Rhode Island elementary and secondary school students, and produced a video survey of Rhode Island School Library Media Centers. In 1992 he received RIEMA’s Linda Aldrich Leadership Award for contributions in the field of Library Media and Instructional Technology.

He was a chairman of the East Providence Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Cable Television, and a member of the State Advisory Council for Cable TV. He was instrumental in ensuring Public Access, and wiring all the East Providence schools for Cable TV in its early years. For many years, working with other volunteers, he videotaped monthly meetings of the School Committee, the Zoning Board, City Council, Library story time, and other state and local events for community viewing, and produced many other Public Access programs for Cable TV, including two award-winning documentaries.

He served on the School Board for Sacred Heart School, and on the Goff Gathering Association Board of Directors. He was a member of the East Providence Historical Society, the Friends of the East Providence Library, and the Friends of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse. He was a student of Naval History and a member of the Newport Naval War College Foundation.
He was a member of the National and Rhode Island Retired Teachers’ Associations, where he served as RI Legislative Committee Chairman and Scholarship Committee Chairman. He was past President of the East Bay Retired Teachers’ Association.

Mr. Donovan has been chosen as a 2024 East Providence High School Hall of Fame inductee as an Honorary Member.

He leaves three daughters: CDR Maureen E Davidovich, USN (ret) (Paul) of Lyons, CO; Kathleen M Cournoyer (Joseph) of Cranston, RI; and Kristine M Gannon (Gregory) of Longmont, CO; and three sons: Michael J Donovan (Laura May) of Fairfax, VA; Stephen R Donovan (Susan) of East Providence, RI; and Timothy J Donovan (Brenda) of Warwick, RI. He is also survived by ten grandchildren: Matthew and Michael Cournoyer; Stephen, Peter and Kelly Donovan; Donald and Timothy Donovan; Colin, Sean, and Ryan Gannon; and 7 great-grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his twin brother James R Donovan, brothers Robert F Donovan and Dennis M Donovan, sister G. Mary Donovan, and daughter-in-law, Sharon Donovan.
The family would like to thank his longtime caregiver, Kim Enos. Her loving service allowed him to live at home for many years. Also, he was very appreciative of the support and friendship shown by the East Providence Firefighters and his buddies at the Providence Canteen.

His Funeral will be held on Wednesday May 29, 2024 from the W. RAYMOND WATSON FUNERAL HOME, 350 Willett Avenue, Riverside at 8:30 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in Sacred Heart Church, Taunton Avenue, East Providence at 10 a.m. Burial with Military Honors will follow in Mount Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Prospect Street, Pawtucket.

Calling Hours are Tuesday May 28, 2024 from 4-8 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to the Special Signal Fire Association/Providence Canteen, PO Box 25009, Providence, RI, 02905 would be greatly appreciated.

Online Condolences


  1. Mr. Donovan taught me how to develop film and photographs. This skill helped me become a periscope photographer, (a collateral duty) while I was in the Navy. A great teacher and mentor. Kris and family, I send my deepest sympathies to you all.

  2. So sorry that I was unable to bid you a final farewell. I’ve known you through my high school years and teaching career. Then you joined our dining group and got to know another side of you, loved listening to your stories, so entertaining. Always enjoyed running into you at Davenports. What an accomplished and exciting life you’ve had. Rest easy, George. Heaven has gained another Townie angel!

  3. Wishing the Donovan Family many happy memories of George and his accomplished life! He was such a learned gentleman and so easy and interesting to talk to. Over the years I enjoyed many conversations with him about teaching history and the value of that. He was kind hearted, industrious and a solid member of his community. His presence will be missed!

  4. Condolences to Mr. Donovan’s family. He was so loved and truly missed. He was very respectful and kind hearted person. God bless his soul.
    Fr. Peri, Sacred Heart Church, East Providence, RI.

  5. Steve, Timmy and the entire Donovan Family
    Please accept our deepest sympathy on the passing of your dad. He was an amazing man.
    John and Maureen Medeiros

  6. May this wonderful man rest in sweet peace.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear of George’s passing, and not at all surprised at his lifetime of achievements and more importantly, his legacy of generosity and commitment. For 20 years, I produced and hosted a statewide cable TV program about libraries for the RI Library Association, and in the first few years George was a crucial part of the volunteer crew, operating cameras, running the sound board, and patiently teaching the rest of us how to do all of it. I will never forget his kindness and wry sense of humor. Heartfelt sympathy to his family and all who loved him.

  8. I am so sorry for the loss of this amazing patriarch! What a beautiful tribute to his life of service to this country! My thoughts and prayers are with the family, and all who love George Donavan.

  9. So many great discussions around the kitchen table. I will miss you!!! Thanks for welcoming me in 🩷

  10. Dear Kris,Tim and Donovan Family, my condolences to your family. Growing up there was my grandmother’s house and the Donovan Family house, your dad was so nice. Thinking of you all 🙏

  11. To the Donovan Family, It was always nice to see him around town.Always a
    Gentleman to talk to. May he Rest in Peace and God Bless Him.

  12. I met George (Mr. Donovan) as a young student at EPHS in the early 70’s where I trained and volunteered on his AV Squad. I learned great deal about working all things AV related. George was great teacher who inspired me to continue with my quest of knowledge for everything AV related. His kind and considerate attitude was never forgotten by me over 50yrs later. Thanks George for everything. It was a pleasure to know you. Condolences to your family.

  13. I will miss you, George.Thank you for being such a good friend to me.

  14. A great photography/AV teacher and friend during my years at EPHS. Kris, my condolences to you and family.

  15. On behalf of the EBRTA I’d like to extend our heartfelt sympathy on the death of George. He was former president and current board member of our group. He introduced us to the Canteen project which we provided financial support to them. He arranged for Providence Canteen to come visit us at our luncheon at Davenport’s so we could view the workings and realize the value this service provided. He was thrilled to be a part of this community project. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.

  16. I remember him as one of the kindest teachers I ever had. You could tell he really loved what he was doing. RIP

  17. I am SO sad to hear that Mr.Donovan , our wonderful teacher and friend has passed.I say this selfishly, because everyone is surely at a loss with this event, faith tells me to know he is in a better place with God.He was such a gentle, kind and humorous spirit.Mr.Donovan was our advisor to The Model Legislature Progam.Prayers and condolences are offered to his family.

  18. Such an impressive retrospective on a life of service, generosity, and love. Wishing his family comfort in this time of loss.

  19. A lovely and exemplary man. I remember him as patient, kind, and sharp as a tack in conversation; he always had a thought-provoking insight or story to share. Rest in peace, Grampa George. Love to the Cournoyers, the Donovans, and all of his many friends and family.

  20. I will always remember Uncle George as my soft-spoken uncle with a warm, loving heart. His kindness, sincerity, talents, intelligence, service and devotion to his beautiful family were his gifts to this world. I will always love you. Until we meet again to enjoy a clam/chicken bake in heaven, I will miss you. Rest in peace, Uncle George.

  21. RIP George Donovan. It was an honor to know you. My condolences to your family.

  22. Sorry to hear about Mr. Donovan’s passing. He was a wonderful man.
    Rest in peace! 🙏

  23. Steve so sorry to hear about your loss. My condolences to you and your family what a great father and man your dad was to you and the community.

  24. I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Donovan. Having him as my history teacher will always bring back positive memories of East Providence High School. He treated everyone with respect and decency.

  25. Uncle George’s wisdom and kind heart were truly an inspiration to us all. He lived life to the fullest.

    My condolence’s and prayers go out to all the Donovan family.

  26. George was a one of a kind man…a wealth of knowledge and memories. His legacy is his children and grandchildren and extended family.

  27. What a remarkable man! He was a very busy man, along with raising so many children. A life well lived. Enjoyed many a conversation with Mr. D. at Davenports. His presence there has been missed. May he rest in eternal peace. My sincere condolences to his family and friends including the EPFD🧡

  28. My sincerest congratulations on the loss of your dad. Your family have been longtime neighbors and friends for all of my life and it will be hard to drive down Anthony Street now!! He was an amazing man I respected so much!! God bless all of you and hugs Kris… my forever friend

  29. It was a life well lived and one spent graciously on the betterment of all. Rest eternal dear George. Gentle thoughts and warm condolences to the Donovan dynasty.

  30. What a fantastic story of a smart, compassionate, and loving man.
    He is resting peacefully. Peace to you Kris!

  31. What a wonderful tribute to a life well-lived ~ so many accomplishments!
    We mourn with the Gannon/Donovan families and pray for peace and comfort.
    Much Love from
    ~The Tompkins/Fisher Families~

  32. We’ll miss you brother in law, George. In admiration of a long life well lived. Our love and condolences to the enormous Donovan clan you left behind. Quite a legacy!

  33. So sorry for your loss.

  34. I love you Grandpa. Thank you for everything and being an amazing father and grandfather. We love you.

  35. You will be missed Uncle George. Such an accomplished and full life. Rest peacefully and thoughts and prayers are with the Donovan cousins.

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