Jack Donovan was 82 when he died peacefully at his home on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Jhe was born in Butte, Montana on April 4, 1933 to Richard and Julia Piazzola Donovan. A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 5150 N. Valley View Road, Tucson. On November 25, 1954, Jack married the love of his life, Joyce Becky.
Upon graduating the University of Montana in 1956, he entered the Air Force and soon completed Navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer training. During their 60 years of marriage, the Air Force life suited their shared sense of adventure, taking them from Japan to Las Vegas and many places in between. For many years they settled down on the Gulf of Mexico in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Happy family memories with their four sons centered around camping, boating, and travel. Jack enjoyed auto repair, carpentry projects and a good book.
Jack was admired for his integrity, sense of humor, honesty and love of his family. Jack and Joyce also enjoyed entertaining friends and relatives. No one entered their home without being offered a cup of coffee and no occasion was too little for a good time at the Donovan house. Jack’s initial assignments in the Air force were in the B-66 and B-52 bombers before he was assigned to the then highly classified Wild Weasel mission. On December 22, 1965, then Captain Donovan and his pilot, in their F-100F, were the first to successfully target and destroy a North Vietnamese SAM site. For his effort, Jack was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He then went on to help lay the groundwork for the USAF Wild Weasel School and was a leading advocate for the development of the F-4G Advanced Wild Weasel. In addition to several medals and commendations and in honor of his distinguished service, the Air Force Navigator School in San Antonio awarded a trophy in his name to the top Electronic Warfare graduate in each class.
After retiring from the Air Force in 1974, Jack remained a leader in promoting the value of electronic warfare. In 1989, Jack accepted a position with the Air National Guard Test Center in Tucson, AZ.
He is survived by his wife, Joyce and sons, Jack Jr. (Carol), Joe (Jeff), Mike (Marjorie) and Patrick (Deborah). Jack delighted in his seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Grandchildren: Chris (Katie) Donovan, Karen Donovan (Brandon) Neff, LT Jennifer Donovan (USN), Becca Donovan, Anne Donovan, Michael (Susan) Donovan and Julia Donovan. Great-grandchildren: Jacob and Alex Donovan and Bryce Neff. He is also survived by a sister, Arlene Hill and a brother, Richard (Joanne) Donovan. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, P.O. Box 26727, Tucson, AZ 85726-6727.