James Francis (Jim) Donovan, 83, beloved father of Muffy (and Patrick), and devoted husband to Mary Lynn, joined God on July 21, 2019, at Baptist Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, after an intense battle with pneumonia.
Born to the late Mike Donovan and Mary Steckel Donovan on Jan. 22, 1936, in Jefferson, he spent the first years of his life in Beloit. In the early 1970s, Jim and his family moved to Verona, where they lived for 40 years.
Having moved to the Jackson Metro area only recently from Kingwood, Texas, Jim found his neighbors and acquaintances in Jackson to be warm and welcoming.
An active church member in all the communities in which he has lived, Jim and his wife Mary Lynn joined Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson shortly after relocating here to be near to their daughter and son-in-law.
Jim was a man of justice in his professional life who embodied those same ideals throughout every aspect of his life. He began working as a police officer in Beloit in the early sixties and found himself on the front lines during civil rights activities helping to maintain peace and nonviolence.
Later, he became a member of the WI Criminal Justice Department and was elected municipal judge in Verona — a position he held for 24 years.
Additionally, he can be attributed to having established the first hotline for Missing and Exploited Children in the State of Wisconsin while also acting as an officer within the National Missing and Exploited Children Program.
Jim could be described as a man of few words — an introspective intellectual. But, he loved his family (both immediate and extended) with an unwavering devotion, followed closely by his love for fishing and the Green Bay Packers.
Annual fishing trips to Canada with his best friend and their wives were a highlight of the year for him. And, as an avid reader and historian, Jim could always be found with a book in his hand and an anecdote or idea to share with others from that reading simply because.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Bill Donovan, and two brothers-in-law, Richard Fleener and Martin Cherry.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary Lynn Donovan; his daughter- Mary Patrice Donovan (Patrick) Pope of Terry, MS; his sister, Mary Kate Donovan, of Beloit, WI.; and his sister-in-law, Mabryn Fleener; as well as by nieces Cathy Canfield, Barb (Greg) Hill, Merry Kaye Bolstad, Kristin Harbin, Sharlene (Sam) Manu, and nephews Larry Bolstad, Tom (Sheryl) Fleener, and Bryan (Marguerite) Fleener.
A service will be held at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at 11 a.m.
The Donovan/Pope/Fleener families have requested memorials be made to Christ United Methodist Church in memory of their beloved husband, father, brother, and uncle. He will be greatly missed.