James T. Donahue, 94, of Ashland, died peacefully at home with his wife and family by his side on July 11, 2018.
He was born in Norfolk, June 1924, to Louise E. Westman and Timothy Michael Donahue. Following his graduation from Maury High School, he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute as a Cadet.
He was drafted into World War II and was sent to Penn State, Pa., for pre-flight training where he met his future wife of 73 years, Cleo Mellott Donahue. He served as a pilot with the 65th Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group, as one of “Ken’s Men” where he flew B-24 Bombers over Japan at the age of 20. James proudly received several medals for his service in World War II.
Following the war, he received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Upon graduation he went to work at Fort Lee and resided in Petersburg for over 30 years. James and his wife Cleo resided in Harlingen, Texas, Riverside, California, Blacksburg, Petersburg, Webster Mills, Pennsylvania, Mathews, and finally Ashland where they lived with their son Stephen, his wife Sharon, grandson John, and granddaughter Jenny.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, served as a member of the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad, and was an avid hunter and fisherman. Dad was a great dad. He took us all swimming, hunting, and fishing.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Cleo Mellott Donahue, and his four children, James T. Donahue Jr., Stephen V. Donahue (wife Sharon M. Donahue), Andrew R. Donahue, and Catharine L. Thompson (husband T. Thompson). James has eight grandchildren, Sarah, Rachael, Tim, Ann, Mark, Rebecca, John and Virginia, and nine great-grandchildren, Hoyt, June, Molly, Cora, Tessa, Vivian, Otis, Alethea and Karis.
A memorial service was held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, 105 S. Snead Street, Ashland, Va. 23005.
A funeral service with internment will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 27, 2018, at Francis de Sales Catholic Church, 176 Lovers Lane, Mathews, Va. 23109.
Those wishing to honor his memory may do so with contributions to the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad.
A special thanks to Amedisys Home Care and Amedisys Hospice.