Daniel R. Donovan, 77: Star athlete, civic leader gave much to community

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BATH — Daniel R. Donovan, 77, of Bath, died Sept. 25 at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, with his family by his side.

He was born April 19, 1937, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, the son of Daniel R. Sr. and Grace (Murphy) Donovan. The family moved to Auburn in 1948, and Dan graduated from Edward Little High School, with the Class of 1955.

Donovan excelled at sports, winning the 1955 New England Cross-Country Ski Championship, finishing second at the Eastern Schoolboy Championship and fourth at the national competition in White Fish, Montana. He was an outstanding track runner and anchored his school’s 880-yard relay team, which won the state meet and represented Maine in the New England championship. He also finished second in the Maine Schoolboy golf tournament and was runner-up in the 1955 Maine Junior Championship.

After being awarded a naval ROTC scholarship, Donovan earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of South Carolina. There, he earned six varsity letters in track, cross country and golf. He was admitted to the prestigious “Block C” Club, and served as president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Upon graduation, Donovan was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy and served for three years as an engineering officer aboard destroyers. He then worked as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent Office. In 1964, he rejoined the Navy and served with the Bureau of Naval Personnel. He attended Catholic University Law School at night, graduated in 1966, and passed the Maine bar exam with the top score.

He soon joined Duane “Buzz” Fitzgerald in a Bath law practice that lasted for over 20 years. In 1986, Donovan joined First Federal Savings as president and chief executive officer, a position he held until his retirement. He continued serving on the board of directors as chairman.

Donovan was known for the many contributions he made to his community. He served as a board member of the YMCA, Bailey Evening School and the Maine Maritime Museum; president of the Sagadahoc Preservation and the Bath Water District; chairman of the Bath Customs House, Bath Housing Authority and the Morse Vocational School Building Committee; and treasurer of the Bath Memorial Hospital, in addition to being active in other business and civic organizations.

He also was a member of the Maine Bar Association, president of the Sagadahoc Bar Association and a member of its Civil Rules Committee.

Donovan is survived by his wife, Catherine Dupuis-Tait; daughter, Jennifer Eaglesham, her husband, David, and their children, Eric, Anna and Will; daughter, Liza Donovan; daughter, Sarah Douglass, her husband, Scott, and their children, Jack, Donovan and Margaret; brother, Robert, and his wife, Suzie, of Woolwich; nephew, Mark Donovan, his wife, Brigid, and their sons, Michael and Matthew; niece, Laurie Donovan; and a cousin, Janice Murphy.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Warren Higgins Scholarship Fund, c/o First Federal Savings, P.O. Box 488, Bath, ME 04530.

Visiting hours were held Oct. 2 at the David E. Desmond & Son Funeral Home, and a Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Oct. 3 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 144 Lincoln St., Bath.

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