James Michael Donovan; Of Russell MA or “Mike” as many referred to him passed during a warm sunny morning on April 11th at the age of 83. He was born March 9, 1940, in Westfield MA to the late Mary (Jackson) and Edward E Donovan Sr of Woronoco Ma.
From an early age he discovered a passion for writing and exploring the local wilderness, particularly Mount Tekoa. He attended local schools and continued his education at the Andover Business School, as well as the Air National Guard where he began his photography career.
He owned several photographic studios, worked as commercial photographer ,free-lance writer among other careers until finding his niche.
As a lifelong Hilltown native, he served the community as a photographer and reporter with the Country Journal for 32 years, retiring in 2017.
His numerous writings included plays, poems, stories and was an active participant with the Miniature Theater in Chester MA. In 2004, he published his book, “A Place of Many Windings,” which centered on the history of Woronoco MA and how it intertwined with the rise and fall of the Strathmore Paper Company. Despite struggling with the advancement of dementia he continued to work on a book until his final weeks because “writers write”.
In 1965 he met the love of his life, Janet Eileen Smith of Belchertown MA, marrying a year later. They had a bond like no other and spent the next 34 years together facing life’s challenges while raising three children they cherished dearly.
He leaves his daughter Jennifer Donovan and her partner Douglas Hoctor of Lee MA, Sean Donovan of Westfield MA, Sarah Dean as well as two very special individuals, who were practically daughters to him, Mary-Ellen Donovan of Westfield MA, and Meredith (Graham) Valencia of Cary NC; six grandchildren, Shane and Connor Donovan, Michael Millar, and Douglas JR, Cadence and Alex Hoctor.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Janet, his son Dylan Donovan grandson Jared Graham his brothers Robert and Edward JR Donovan and sister-in-law Jean (Hammond) Donovan.
A public service will be held April 20th from 5 PM to 7PM at Firtion Adams Funeral Home in Westfield MA.
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