Date of Death
March 13, 2015
Place of Death
A wake will be held at the Hohner Funeral Home on Friday, March 20th from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. The rosary will be said at 6:30 p.m. A funeral mass will be said at Immaculate Conception church at 11:00 a.m. Saturday March 21st, followed by a luncheon in the church basement.
He will be buried in the Donnelly family lot in the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery at Ontonagon, Michigan, this summer.
John Joseph Donnelly died on March 13, 2015, at Borgess Hospital after a short illness. The cause was complications of heart disease.
He was born March 21, 1925, in Ontonagon, Michigan, son of Joseph Michael Donnelly and Virginia Testman Donnelly. He attended public and parochial schools in Ontonagon, East Grand Rapids, Lansing, and graduated from the Houghton, Michigan High School in 1942.
He enrolled in the Forestry Science program at the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University) but left after one year to volunteer for the Marine Corps in June 1943. He served with the 2nd battalion, 9th Marines (3rd Marine Division) on Guam and Iwo Jima and was preparing for the invasion of Japan when the atomic bomb ended the war. He was honorably discharged in March of 1946 with the rank of corporal.
He returned to Houghton and completed his studies, graduating in 1949 with a degree in mining engineering. He then worked in various hard rock mines in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Michigan, and later became a mining and construction equipment salesman for Ingersoll Rand Company in Denver, Ishpeming, Michigan, and Pittsburgh.
In 1958 while in Pittsburgh, he met Ann M. Nee, an Irish girl from Connemara, Galway, and they were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral there later that year.
He and Ann subsequently lived in Denver for seven years, where he was a drilling and blasting contractor. In 1967 they moved to Three Rivers where he worked for Michigan Power Company in charge of their construction programs. Upon retiring in 1987, he took part time work inspecting various cross country pipeline projects in the Midwest. They lived at Fishers Lake since 1970.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by six children: Joseph of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bridget (Stephen) Barrer of Ann Arbor, Maura (Robert) Christlieb of Madison, Wisconsin, Rachael Donnelly of Three Rivers, Veronica Donnelly of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Brendan (Emily Kania) of Ann Arbor; and 10 grandchildren: Kaitlin, Eileen and Aidan Barrer; Maeve and Rory Christlieb; Nick and Alaina Moore; Colin Van Zalen; Robert Heath; and Darya Donnelly. He is also survived by his sister Joan Therese (Richard) Sampson of Three Rivers. A daughter Johannah died in 1998. His brother Joseph M. Donnelly Jr. died in an automobile accident in 1946, and another brother, Terrence F. Donnelly, died in 2005.
John Donnelly was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church in Three Rivers where he was a past member of the parish council and the school board. He was also a lifelong member of the Elks Club in Cripple Creek, Colorado.
He was a member of the American Legion and the St. Joseph Chapter of the Marine Corps League. In September 2014 he participated with a group of World War II veterans in a Talons-Out Honor Flight to Washington DC.
John Donnelly loved his family, church, and country; whiskey; and his Irish heritage. His politics were firmly conservative, and he looked forward to the arrival of the National Review every two weeks.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Three Rivers, MI. Envelopes available at Hohner Funeral Home in care of arrangements.