Joseph L. Donovan, age 91

of Quincy

Joseph L. Donovan, age 91

Joseph L. Donovan, age 91, a lifelong Quincy resident, died peacefully, Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in the comfort of his home, in the loving care of his family.

Joseph was born in Quincy, to the late James P. and Leona L. (O’Brien) Donovan. He was a graduate of the former Saint John’s Grammar School in Quincy in 1945, Boston College High School, Class of 1949, and received his Business Administration in Management degree from Boston College, Class of 1953.

He had a distinguished career with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for forty-seven years and served as the Assistant Commissioner of the MA Highway Department, now the Department of Transportation. He was active in various professional associations including the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and American Association of Highway Officials North Atlantic States (AHONAL).

As a young man, Joe owned and operated the former Imperial Insurance Agency in Quincy for ten years. He was also the founder of an international consulting firm, Joseph L. Donovan Associates, which he operated for over thirty years.

Joseph was a proud veteran of the Korean War having served in the U.S. Army and was a member of the Amvets #3 in Boston.

He was a man of great faith and a lifelong active member and longtime daily communicant at Saint John the Baptist Parish in Quincy. He was a member of the former Saint John’s Holy Name Society and a lifelong member of the Quincy Knights of Columbus.

For all his adult life, Joe had an enduring passion for politics and civic affairs. He loved helping people and finding solutions to solve problems to everyone’s satisfaction. He was involved in countless political campaigns ranging from presidential elections to ward, mayoral, city and state contests. Starting in the 1950s, he was actively involved with the Young Democrats of Quincy and later with the state Democratic Committee.

Locally, he served on the Board of Directors of the Quincy City Club and was Chairman of the Quincy Heart Fund. In Boston, he served as the Chairman of the United Fund and was the vice-president of the South Shore Boston College Club. Joe was also a lifelong member of the Quincy Yacht Club.

Joe was dedicated to his family and friends and was especially devoted to the care of his late mother, Leona. He loved to travel and since the 1960s hosted many family vacations in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and most recently Aruba. He also enjoyed yachting in the British Virgin Islands.

Beloved husband for seventeen years of his dear wife and best friend, Delia A. “Dolly” (Santagata) Donovan. Joe and Dolly had known each other for fifty-two years and he was extremely dedicated to her care, comfort, and happiness.

One of six siblings, he was the devoted brother of Marguerite A. Donovan of West Yarmouth, Leona D. Magnarelli of Hingham and Martha’s Vineyard, and was predeceased by James P. Donovan, Elizabeth J. Pare, and C. Maureen Duane. Joe was the loving uncle of twelve nieces and nephews, twenty-seven great nieces and nephews, and seven great great nieces and nephews.

Memorial Visitation will be held at the Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Avenue, Quincy, on Thursday, April 21, from 3 – 5 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. The family requests that those attending Joe’s services wear a mask or face covering. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Saint John the Baptist Church, 44 School Street, Quincy, on Friday, April 22, at 10:30 a.m. Interment, with military honors, to follow at Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Quincy.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joseph’s memory may be made to Saint John the Baptist Parish, c/o 556 Washington Street, Quincy, MA 02169.


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  • We did not know Joe when he was so active in the community as a leader and supporter, but we did know him as a wise and helpful person who was interesting to know and be around. We knew him in the context of his loving family which was simply inspirational.

  • My sincere condolences to Dolly,Peg, Lee and the rest of Joes family and friends. RIP Joe, you were truly a great man and will be missed.

  • Our sincere condolences to Dolly,Peg, & the rest of Joes family and friends. RIP Joe, you will me remembered fondly and lovingly. Joe had a beautiful soul, so there will be a trail of happy and long lasting memories. Know that you are all in our prayers during this difficult time.

  • What a prince of a guy Joe was! How he will be surely missed by his wife, Dolly, and sisters Peg and Lee, and all the other members of his family. Our hearts go out to you all. We particularly remember his kindness. A friend joined us for a party, having suffered a flood in her home. After failing to get action from her insurance, Joe told her what she should do. She followed his counsel and action was instantaneously forthcoming.

  • My condolences Dolly

    Mu condolences DOLLY. He will be missed

  • Hi condolences Dolly. He will be missed.

  • Joseph’s loving Godly heart and powerful gifts and wisdoms have graciously touched so many of us.Thank you…..You are God’s good and faithful servant ✨

    A blessed journey home, 🕊
    kiss Jesus feet for me 💖
    for all of us 💕
    Joe’s light shines Bright all around and in us…forever!!!
    His amazing strengths and clarity are my teachers.
    Thank you dear family for bringing me into your family 💕
    My heart embraces you with
    His Memory Eternal ✨

  • My sincere condolence to Dolly, Peg, Lee and all of Joe’s family. Joe was a man with a loving, giving heart and will be truly missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace Joe

  • My deepest condolences to Dolly and Joe’s siblings, and nieces and nephews. Joe and Dolly were great friends of my parents, John & Nancy Moreschi, and they were so very attentive to mom after dad had passed. I have fond memories of Joe and Dolly inviting me & mom to the Neighborhood Club for dinner and how they picked us up — Joe had so many interesting stories to share and always attentive and caring to each and every person God put before him. What a gift we were given in Joe!
    Eternal rest grant unto Joe, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him and all the faithful departed.

  • Our thoughts and prayers for all the Donovan family and especially Dolly. Joe was a tremendous friend and a wonderful man. We were all so lucky to call him friend. May he Rest In Peace.

  • A loss of a good and caring man to so many