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The Times
  • Walter J. Donovan

  • Monsignor Walter J. Donovan, a native of Little Falls, passed away on July 22, 2012, in Roswell, Georgia, at the age of 96.

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  • Monsignor Walter J. Donovan, a native of Little Falls, passed away on July 22, 2012, in Roswell, Georgia, at the age of 96.
    Monsignor Donovan was born in Little Falls on April 14, 1916, son of the late John J. Donovan and Margaret Johnson Donovan. Upon graduation from St. Mary's High School in Little Falls, Monsignor Donovan enrolled in the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. After graduation from Catholic University, he attended St. Bernard's Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., and was ordained as a priest on July 1, 1944.
    His first pastoral assignment was the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, GA. He served the people of Georgia for the 68 years of his priesthood. He was appointed by Blessed Pope John Paul II as a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor in 1994. A pioneer for the Catholic Church in North Georgia, Monsignor Donovan's parishes covered 10 counties, and he often went to rural areas to celebrate Mass for small groups of Catholics. In Athens, he established the first accredited Catholic elementary school in Georgia. His great service to the community over many years was recognized when the first Catholic High School in the Athens area was named The Monsignor Donovan Catholic High School.  In Atlanta, Monsignor Donovan was the founding pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, where he served for 11 years.
    After his retirement in 1988, Monsignor Donovan resided at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in downtown Atlanta, where he continued to perform many priestly duties for over 18 years. In 2005, he retired again, moving to St. George Village in Roswell, GA.
    Monsignor Donovan is survived by nieces, Eleanor Carswell, Mary Crandall, Anne Moller, Helen Abrams, Lois Cassillo, Margaret Kelly, Victoria Orr, Susan Knapp and Chrissy Putnam; nephews, Michael Gossin and F. William Gossin; and children of his special friends in Georgia, Tony Totis, Pete Totis, Maria Lure and Loretta Wallace.
    Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Anne Carswell, Helen Donovan, Elizabeth Wright and A. Rosalie Gossin; his brothers, John J. Donovan and Joseph P. Donovan; his nephews, Walter Carswell and Jack Wright; and his long time special friends in Georgia, Giovanni and Pierina Totis.
    Burial took place at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
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