Obituary of James Edward Donahue
James (Jim) Edward Donahue, age 85, passed away on March 25, 2023, in Reston, VA. Jim was born January 30, 1938, in Canandaigua, NY. His parents were James T. and Elizabeth (Sherry) Donahue. He predeceases his five siblings: Sheila Lucey, Tom (Wanna) Donahue, Mary Liberatore, Betty (Patrick) DeRosa and Diane Hamed. He was predeceased by brothers-in-law: James Lucey and Frank Liberatore.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Louise (Parnin) Donahue; his three children: James Donahue, Meghan Donahue, Moira Lail, and their respective spouses, Stephanie Nobbe, Jason Chernoff, Travis Lail; and his three beloved grandchildren: Finn Donahue, Rory Lail and Louise Lail.
Jim grew up in Geneva, NY. After graduation from DeSales High School he joined the U.S. Navy. Upon his honorable discharge in 1958, Jim enrolled at the University of Notre Dame and worked as a reporter for the South Bend Tribune.
In 1963, he moved to Springfield, MA, began working as a reporter for the Springfield Daily News and met his wife, Mary Louise (Molly). They married in Cleveland, OH and remained married for nearly 58 years. Together, they quit their jobs and traveled widely across Europe. Upon returning to Springfield, Jim began working as Press Secretary for Massachusetts Congressman, Silvio Conte. He and his young family later relocated to Silver Spring, MD, where he worked as the Chief of Staff in the congressman’s Capitol Hill office. Jim loved the intersection of politics and journalism and described his years working on Capitol Hill as the greatest job of his life. In 1971, his family moved to Reston, VA, where he would live for the next 50 years. He loved Reston, building their family home, landscaping the yard and battling the RHOA. In 1973, he left the Hill to begin his career at the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), formerly the American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA), where he worked for 20 years, first in Government Affairs, then, as the editor of Presstime, and later as a Senior Vice President of Communications. He retired from his career in the newspaper business, after serving for 10 years as Director of the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association.
As a dedicated husband and father, he was a fixture on sidelines and pool decks, coaching and cheering for his children and applauding their musical performances in auditoriums. Jim loved reading the newspaper cover to cover, every day, wherever he happened to be. In retirement, he and Molly traveled to China, Greece, Portugal, Budapest, and Alaska. Together, they enjoyed winters in Delray Beach, Florida, swimming in the ocean, taking long exercise walks and enjoying cocktail hour on the patio. Jim was an avid reader, sudoko puzzler, and cigar smoker. He had many wonderful friends with whom he played poker and golf and shared many laughs. In his final decade, Jim was a devoted caregiver for Molly after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He will be missed by many. We hope that he is at peace and not editing his obituary with his signature green pen.
A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 am, on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at St. Thomas à Becket Catholic Church, in Reston, VA, with a reception to follow. On Monday, April 3, 2023, a wake will be held from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, at Adams-Green Funeral Home in Herndon, VA. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Jim's name may be directed to: The Alzheimer’s Association