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Founding principal of Olympic High School has died

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 3:25 pm in Concord, Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

John Joseph Donovan Jr. (1921-2010)

John Joseph Donovan Jr. (1921-2010)

By Theresa Harrington

Mt. Diablo school board President Paul Strange adjourned last night’s meeting in memory of John Joseph Donovan, Jr. and James Jones. Donovan was the founding principal of Olympic High School and Jones was a business agent for Local 1, representing the district’s Clerical, Secretarial and Technical unit.

I am working on a news obituary about Jones, who died Friday.

Here is a copy of the obituary for Donovan, which ran in the Contra Costa Times on Oct. 13:

“John Joseph Donovan Jr. (1921 – 2010)
John Joseph, Jr. Donovan (Jack) Oct. 26, 1921 ~ Sept. 28, 2010 Resident of Concord
Jack was born to John Joseph Donovan & Theresa McMahon, in Philadelphia, PA. His family moved to Oakland, CA. when he was 11 months old.
He graduated from Castlemont High in 1939 and joined the Marines at 18. He was a sea going Marine stationed on the battleships U.S.S. West Virginia and U.S.S. Maryland in four major battles in the Pacific, and a Pearl Harbor survivor. He was proud to be a Marine.
At the end of the war, Jack attended San Jose State, Stanford University and UC Berkeley.
He began teaching at Pacific High School where he organized a wrestling program that introduced wrestling to the Mt. Diablo School District.
He became a counselor at Clayton Valley High and later Dean of Boys at Ygnacio Valley High School.
His dedication to educational opportunity for all students led to Jack’s final position with the Mt. Diablo School District as the founding Principal of Olympic High School.
He had enthusiastic, innovative, caring teachers and staff who helped to make Olympic High a success, and he greatly appreciated their dedication to their students. Jack retired in 1981.
Reading was a pleasure for him. He enjoyed music, camping, traveling, cabinet making, and spending time in the mountains. Thoughtful, creative and dedicated, Jack always looked for ways to help his children and their families.
As a grandfather, Jack continually thought of how to enrich his grandchildren’s lives. A lover of history, nature, and geography, with a sharp intellect, exceptional memory and subtle humor we could always count on him to answer our questions.
Jack is the much loved husband of his wife of 63 years, Marjorie, treasured father of Nancy, Joan and Jim Donovan, devoted grandfather of Molly, Brian, Megan and John Donovan and favorite uncle of Judy Such. Strong, courageous, and a committed family man, he will be forever in our hearts.”

A Mass celebrating the life of Jack was held Oct. 16 at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 3966 Chestnut Ave. in Concord.

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