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Joseph Daniel Donovan

Death Date : 15 May 1952

Joseph Donovan

Katherine Josephine Flaherty

Death Date : 4 Sep 1961

Kathleen Flaherty


United States


Joseph Daniel Donovan was a son of Daniel Donovan and Elizabeth Gallagher.
Katherine Flaherty was a daughter of Thomas Flaherty and Catherine Gannon.

Joseph Donovan (22), a clerk and Katherine Flaherty (22), a dressmaker married in Brookline on 19 June 1917.


Thomas Joseph "Joe" Donovan (1918 - 1988)

Daniel Francis Donovan (1920 - 1995)

Charles A. Donovan (1921 - 2010)

Kathleen Josephine Donovan (1924 - 2007)

Mary Gloria Donovan (1926 - 1989)

Barbara Ann Donovan (1930 - 1932)


Census 1920:

Census 1930:

Census 1940:


We quote from the writings of Thomas J. Donovan:

PART 11 (extract) - "Joseph Daniel Donovan (1894 -1952)

Joseph, our grandfather, at the time of the death of his mother was 11 years old. At age 15, he is identified as a ward of Patrick and Catherine Murphy, living at 107 Lamartine Street. Then, as a 20 year old, he is a border, along with sister Mary, living at 36 Altherton Street, Brookline. On 19 June 1917, Joseph and Katherine Flaherty were married. Over the next decade, six children were born. About this time, he is a member of the U.S. Army.

There was no draft record found which sometimes mean the individual had already joined the military. Also, because of a major fire in 1973, many of the World War I and II records were destroyed. The only official document is an U.S. Army Transport Service passenger list. Sergeant Joseph D. Donovan, Supply Company, 101st Infantry, returning from Brest France to Boston, then to Fort Devens. Home address is listed at 4 Perry Place, Brookline. Later, in the Boston Globe obituary, he is identified in the 101st Infantry, 26 Division (Yankee division). Also, he was a Past Commander of John T. Fallon VFW Post 1050 in Roslindale. The VFW Post is defunct and no records are found.

Shortly after his service in the Army, he is employed by the Boston Elevated Railroad Co. as a clerk. The company later became the MTA and today the MBTA. Joseph rose through the ranks and became the chief clerk in the treasurer-comptroller's office. It appears railroading is part of the family heritage. Besides the cousins in South Station, two sons joined the "T", Thomas "Joe" and Daniel.

Joseph's education is surprising. He started off at Northeastern College Commerce and Financing. He then applied to Suffolk Law School. He was interviewed by Gleason L. Archer, the founder of Suffolk Law. In 1929, he was graduated with a Juris Doctor degree (JD). Surprisingly, he did not practice law.

After his Army service, Joseph lived in the family real estate on Lamartine Street. In 1927, he and Katherine purchased 22 Glenburnie Road. There is a family picture that would have been taken there. In 1937, the house was sold.


Back (standing): Joe, Daniel, Kathleen
Front: Charles, Mary Gloria, Barbara Ann, Joseph, Kathleen


The family then lived on Beech Street, Roslindale and the VFW Parkway, West Roxbury. In 1941, the family purchased a summer residence on West Avenue, Rocky Nook, Kingston. That property remained in the family until 1973. In 1943, the family moved back to Glenburnie Road, this time #8. That property, ultimately owned by daughter Gloria, was sold in 1993, after her death in 1989.

On 15 May 1952, at the age of 57, Joseph suffered a heart attack. According to family information, he had diabetes and was a heavy smoker. The wake was held at the family home and the funeral was at Holy Name Church. He was a member of Brookline council, K. of C.; St. Francis' Friary Laymen's Retreat League and the Holy Name Society of Holy Name Parish.

Katherine Josephine Flaherty (1894 - 1961)

Katherine was born in Galway, Ireland. Her parents were Thomas Flaherty and Katherine Gannon. No information is known on the parents. We were able to identify one older sister, Mary Frances (Flaherty) Reehill. Katherine immigrated to Boston in 1912 at the age of 18. Four years later, she and Joseph were married at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Brookline. At that time she was a dressmaker. Given that she married a native born person, she automatically became a naturalized citizen according to the laws at that time. It is unclear given the dates on records, but it appears, during Joseph's deployment in the Army, Katherine gave birth to their first son, Thomas.

From several records, it identified Katherine's native language as Gaelic. This most likely applies to all the earlier Irish relatives, Donovans, etc. Good news for the cousins, since Katherine was born in Ireland, we can apply for Ireland citizenship. Sorry kids, you are one generation too far to get automatic citizenship.

Katherine lived for the remainder of her life at 8 Glenburnie Road and owned the summer residence at Rocky Nook, Kingston. Remember those good old days, stop off at Howard Johnson restaurant on Route 3A, go to the kids dance at Rooky Nook Association club house.

Katherine died on 4 September 1961 at Faulkner Hospital as a result of a stroke. She was 67 years old. Funeral was at the Holy Name Church, West Roxbury. She was a member of the John T. Fallon Ladies' Auxiliary, Unit 1050, VFW, and the Sodality."


PART 12 - "The children of Joseph D. Donovan and Katherine J. (Flaherty) Donovan were all born in Boston and lived their lives in Boston. Because we are reaching more recent times, many of the records are not yet available. For example, the 1950 Federal Census will not be released for several years. Federal Census records only come publicly available after 72 years. So, if any additional information is available, please pass it on. If you see errors, please let me know. In some cases, we only have minimal information. It would be nice to add more information on this interesting generation. The grandchildren of Joseph and Katherine will be mentioned, but many details are not available or may not be included.


Thomas Joseph "Joe" Donovan (1918 - 1988)

Joe was born in Cushing Hospital, Parker Hill Avenue on 28 January 1918. His father's occupation was listed as U.S. Army. On 19 August 1945, Joe and Rita Agnes Kelly (1915 - 2013) were married in St. Columbkille Church in Brighton. Both Joe and Rita were employed with the Boston Elevated Railway. With Donovan on one side of the family and Kelly on the other, our immediate family is more Irish than many people in Ireland.

Joe and Rita lived for several years in Savin Hill, then moved to Roslindale. During the years they raised 4 children and Joe attended Northeastern University, evenings. He obtained an associate degree in Engineering in 1947; and bachelor degree in Business Administration in 1949. He was a member of the Sigma Epsilon Rho Honor Society.

He was active in the Sacred Heart Parish where he served as a lector and eucharistic minister. When his children were students at Sacred Heart School, he was active in the Home and School Association where he served a term as Treasurer. Joe Donovan was a Third Degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a member for 40 years with Council 1308 in Roslindale. He was also a member of the Holy Name Society and served on the board of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Joe passed away at age 70. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease and cancer. He was retired from the MBTA as chief engineer. After retirement from the T, he worked part-time for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a bridge inspector. His funeral mass was held at Sacred Heart Church, Roslindale. Burial was at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury. (see attached picture of headstone, below)

Rita Agnes Kelly (1915 - 2013)

Rita was born in 1915 at home at 495 Western Avenue, Brighton. The property was owned by her grandmother, Anastasia (Keefe) Kelly. The property was in close proximity to the Brighton Abattoir and stockyards where many of the Kelly relatives worked. By 1920, the family had moved to 9 Foster Street, close to Brighton center. As a young adult, Rita used to collect rents at the Western Avenue properties until taken by eminent domain. For many years the properties then became a State Police barracks.

Rita's parents were William A. Kelly (1872 - 1941) and Gertrude E. (Jones) Kelly (1879 - 1963). She had 8 siblings: Gertrude E. (Kelly) Lordan (1903 - 1971); Anastasia Kelly (1904 - 1904); William A. Kelly (1905 - 1987), owner of W.A. Kelly Horse Transportation; Mabel V. (Kelly) Fitzpatrick (1906 -2006); Mary F. Kelly (1909 -  1994); Katherine T. (Kelly) Freno (1913 - 1982); the twins: Thomas J. Kelly (1919 - 1974), Purple Heart recipient - WWII; and Harry L. Kelly (1919 - 2008).  In Brighton, there were many other Kelly relatives, Anastasia (Keefe) Kelly (1845 - 1904) and James Kelly (1832 - 1896), the grandparents, had 10 children, all from Brighton. Harry was the last Kelly to live in Brighton. Upon his death, the Kelly home, for over 100 years at 9 Foster Street, was sold.

In 1995, Rita, at the age of 79, was convinced to move to a home all on one floor. The stairs at 312 Poplar Street, Roslindale were exceedingly difficult to manage. So, for the next 19 years, she lived on Violet Avenue in Dedham. Rita died at the age of 98. Her Funeral Mass was held at St. Susanna Church, Dedham. Burial was at St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury.

Children of Joe and Rita:

Thomas J. Donovan - married to Elizabeth L. Gallers. Lives in Medfield. Three children: Thomas J. Donovan III, Medfield; Karen E. (Donovan) Kierce, Foxboro; Robert J.Donovan, Medfield.

William A. Donovan - married to Ruth A. Glick. Lives in Dedham. Two children: Jason A. Donovan, Arlington, VA; and Amy R. (Donovan) Schmidt, Nashville, TN.

Barbara A. (Donovan) Smith (1954 - 2016) - Barbara died of ovarian cancer after a long battle. She lived in Attleboro; was a school teacher and then became a sale representative for office products. Barbara was a tireless advocate for those affected by ovarian cancer, and often spoke and taught about this in Washington, DC, at Tufts New England Medical Center, and at many other venues. She was a member of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. In addition, she cared for dogs that were up for adoption and was an avid pickle ball player. Barbara is survived by her daughter, Courtney E. Smith, currently a college student in San Diego, California.

Richard J. Donovan - retired primary school teacher in the Archdiocese of Boston school system. Lives in Dedham.


Daniel Francis Donovan (1920 - 1995)

Dan was born in Cushing Hospital, Parker Hill Avenue, on 18 March 1920. He enlisted in the U.S. Army - Air Corps on 17 Apr 1942. He was, discharged on 7 Dec 1945 with the rank of Sergeant at the end of World War II. In 1945, Daniel and Margaret V. Degan were married. Dan and Margaret raised two daughters. The family starting out in Mattapan, then made their home for many years in Avon, Massachusetts.

Dan unfortunately made the news in the Boston Globe, "Marines Take Over, Rescue 4 on Tracks". Several off duty Marines assisted in the rescue of 3 MTA employees, Daniel Donovan and others. Three M.T.A. employees were found lying unconscious on the tracks. Someone planted a bomb in the storage lockers at the North Station. Different than today, the train station, now underground, was elevated about 25' above street level. The men were brought down to the street on the hoist. Source: Boston Globe, June 12, 1959. The injured were taken to the hospital and placed on the danger list. Had a train been in the station the result would have been more severe. Dan was the last person to be released from the hospital. Fortunately, no one was killed. No one was ever captured.

Dan and Margaret later moved to Plymouth and Carver. Upon retirement, they relocated to Ocala, Florida. Dan died on 17 October 1995 in Florida. Church services were held St. Mary's Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Burial services were held at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne.

Margaret Virginia Degan (1921 - 2017)

Margaret was born in Boston and raised in Jamaica Plain. Her parents were William F. Degan (1896 - 1990) and Helen Gladys Flanagan (1898 - 1987). She has a sister Gladys Margaret (Degan) O'Brien who lives in Kingston, Massachusetts. The Degans had a summer home on Cole Street, Rocky Nook. That house backed up to the Donovan summer residence on West Avenue.

During WWII, Margaret worked for the Department of the Navy in Washington, D.C. In 1943, she was 22 years old. As noted earlier, she and Daniel were married in 1945 and raised two daughters. After Daniel's death, Margaret continued to reside in Ocala, Florida for a number of years. At some point, due to failing health, her daughter Debbie had her relocate to be close by in a care facility in Newnan, Georgia. She died on 10 May 2017 at the age of 95 and was interred at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne.

Children of Daniel and Margaret

Diane B. (Donovan) (Towns) Rhodes - married to John Rhodes. Lives in Aptos, California. Diane had two children with her first husband, Paul William Towns (1945 - 1969). Tragically, Paul lost his life in a work accident; he was a high voltage electrical worker. Two children: Paul W. Towns, Jr. of Plymouth and Lisa (Towns) Glenn of California.

Deborah Helen (Donovan) Glover - widow of Richard Wilson Glover (1949 - 2013). Lives in Newnan, Georgia. Three Children: Richard Wilson Glover, Jr., Georgia, veteran of the Gulf wars; Amanda Whitney (Glover) Berta, Newnan, Georgia; and Nathaniel Banks Glover IV (1987 - 2010).


Charles A. Donovan (1921 - 2010)

Charles attended Boston Latin School and was graduated with honors from Boston College in 1942. He started his career with New England Power Association, then joined Stewart, Watts & Bollong, as an accountant. At some point he became a C.P.A. He later joined a high tech firm -  Itek Corporation and rose through the ranks to become corporate vice president and chief financial officer.

Charles and Barbara Ann Brawley were married in 1948. They lived in West Newton, then Roslindale, Ultimately settling at 3 Glenburnie Road, West Roxbury. They raised 4 children. Interestingly, their house was across the street from the Donovan homestead and a house purchased by the Brawley family.

Barbara Ann Brawley (1920 - 2007)

Barbara grew up in Roslindale. Her parents were John Sherwood Brawley (1886 - 1962) and Lucy A. Barry (1886 - 1924) and her step-mother Mary F. Cullen (1894 - 1966). Her siblings were: John Barry Brawley (1916 - 1982); Mary Evelyn (Brawley) Fetherston (1919 - 1995); Lucy Ann Brawley (1924 - 2013); and half-brother, Francis E. Brawley (1928 -  ).

On 1 February 2007, Barbara passed away at Faulkner Hospital, a hospital where she had earlier volunteered at. A Solemn Requiem Mass was held in the Holy Name Church, West Roxbury. Burial was in the Donovan grave site at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Roslindale.

Children of Charles and Barbara.

Katherine J. (Donovan) (Rochford) Hoke - Married. Lives in New Hampshire. 3 children: Robert H. Rochford, Massachusetts; Barbara Rochford; and Brian Rochford, Massachusetts.

Joseph D. Donovan - Lives in Massachusetts.

Regina Lucy (Donovan) Jackson  - Lives in West Roxbury. Veteran, Retired Captain, U.S Airforce. Doctor.

Charles Barry Donovan - Married to Gail Troy. Lives in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Doctor-Radiologist.


Kathleen Josephine Donovan (1924 - 2007)

In 1946, Kathleen and George Sweeney of Melrose were married. Three children were born to Kathleen and George while living in the Boston area. They then purchased their home at 56 Hallowell Street, Mattapan in 1955. Two additional children were born at this location. The Sweeneys made this place their home for almost 20 years. When the kids grew up and moved on, Kathleen and George moved to 20 Fairbanks Road, Milton in 1973. They lived at that address for the next 30 years. After the death of George, Kathleen moved in with her daughter, Kathleen M. Curry.

Kathleen had worked for several years at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Roslindale. Kathleen died in 2007 at the age of 83. Services were held at St. Gerald Majella Church, Canton. Burial was at Mount Calvary Cemetery.

George Thomas Sweeney, Jr. (1915 - 2000)

George was born in Wakefield and grew up in Melrose. He was the son of George T. Sweeney, Sr. (1882 - 1968) and Anna Elizabeth White (1880 - ?). He had three siblings: Katherine A. (Sweeney) Conrey (1911 - 1982); Anne M. (Sweeney) Sheehan (1913 - ?); and Margaret M. (Sweeney) Breagy (1917 - 2011). When he registered for the draft in 1940, he was living in Washington D.C. and employed by the Bureau for the Census. In 1941 he joined the Army. Since his enlistment date was prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he probably volunteered and was not drafted. He served from August 1941 to December 1945. No records or information was found on his service.

Upon his discharge, he returned to the Boston area. He worked in sales until retirement from the Hood Milk Company. He died on 16 September 2000. No death notice or obituary was found. The burial was at Mount Calvary Cemetery.

Children of Kathleen and George

Good news for the children. George's mother, Anna E. White was born in Ireland. Another opportunity to apply for Irish citizenship.

George Michael Sweeney. Originally lived in Mansfield, now, and for a number of years, in Colrain, Massachusetts. Founder of Purveyors of Fine Reproductions of Historical Weaponry and Leather Goods. Also farming. Two children.

Paul J. Sweeney - married to Janet A. Lives in Norwell, Massachusetts for many years. Several children.

Joseph D. Sweeney. Lives in Lafayette, Oregon. Doctor, Family Practice. Treated Karen (Donovan) Kierce's kids when his practice was in Foxboro. Several children.

Kathleen M. (Sweeney) Curry (1955 - 2013). Died in Emory Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, after two liver transplants failed. She had spent seven months in the hospital. Kathleen contacted hepatitis C at 12 years old, caused by bad blood transfusion during scoliosis surgery. She was a registered nurse at Newton Wellesley Pediatrics. Her x-husband, William J. Curry, died 3 months later in Edinburgh, Scotland. Both had funeral services at St. Gerald Majella Church, and interment at St. Mary's Cemetery, Canton. Together, Kathleen and William had three children: Kaitlyn (Curry) Barry, Canton; William P. Curry, Massachusetts; and Patrick Curry, Massachusetts.

Timothy Sean Sweeney - married to Deborah Lynn Brown. Lives in Vancouver, Washington. Several children.

Noreen Sweeney (1962). Died at child birth.


Mary Gloria Donovan (1926 - 1989)

Gloria (Goggie) worked for many years at Clay Chevrolet, West Roxbury, then at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Roslindale. Lived and at times owned the family residences. Died at the age of 62 in 1989 of pneumonia and cancer. Was a smoker.


Barbara Ann Donovan (1930 - 1932)

Barbara died on pneumonia in 1932.

The family grave is located in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Roslindale. The actual location is toward the top of the hill and close to Cummins Highway. Of the family members that are interned, all but two have their name engraved on the monument. The two not so noted are John Donovan (1896 - 1900) and Sabina (Cassidy) Gallagher (1830 - 1904), mother of Elizabeth. The relatives that are interred at Mount Calvary (see attached picture of monument, below):

Daniel Donovan (1841 - 1898),

John Donovan (1896 - 1900),

Sabina (Cassidy) Gallagher (1830 - 1904),

Elizabeth M. (Gallagher) Donovan (1864 - 1906),

Barbara Ann Donovan (1930 - 1932),

Joseph Daniel Donovan (1894 - 1952),

Katherine Josephine (Flaherty) Donovan (1894 - 1961),

Noreen Sweeney (1962),

Mary Gloria Donovan (1926 - 1989),

George Thomas Sweeney (1915 - 2000),

Barbara Ann (Brawley) Donovan (1920 - 2007),

Kathleen Josephine (Donovan) Sweeney (1924 - 2007),

Charles A. Donovan (1921 - 2010)."






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