In Memoriam: John D. "Jack' Donnelly


The Institution announces with great sorrow the death of John D. “Jack” Donnelly Tuesday June 22, 1999 at his home in Quissett Gardens following a brief illness. He was 69.

He was the husband of Frances “Pat” (Rooney) Donnelly for 48 years. Born and raised in Cliffside Park, NJ, he attended high school at Mount Herman School in Massachusetts. He received a degree in electrical engineering from Yale University in 1951 and a master’s degree in engineering electronics from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, in 1963. He was an associate member of the Society of the Sigma Xi.

Jack served in the Navy from 1951 to 1971 as a submarine officer and an engineering duty officer. He fought in the Korean War aboard the destroyer USS Kimberly and later on the submarines USS Toro, Dogfish, Grenadier and Diadon. Prior to his retirement, he was assigned to the Office of Naval Research where he worked as a project officer responsible for manned submersible deep ocean research. During that time, he participated in the recovery planning of Alvin after it was lost at sea in 1968 and was the Navy on-scene liaison during the salvage operation in the summer of 1969.

After retiring from the Navy in 1971, Jack lived in Falmouth and joined WHOI as an Alvin pilot. He was promoted to manager of Alvin Operations in September 1979 and became manager of Marine Operations in June 1982 until his retirement in 1986. He was a member of the Deep Submersible Pilots Association. Upon his retirement from WHOI, he volunteered his time at the WHOI Exhibit Center and as a tour guide, where he shared his underwater experiences and love of the sea with visitors of all ages.

Surviving besides his wife are three sons, Capt. J. Jay Donnelly and Capt. Michael D. Donnelly, both serving in the Navy in Yokosuka, Japan, and Brian B. Donnelly of Canton; two sisters, Jane Knipshild of St. Louis, Mo., and Ruth Knipshild of Milford, PA; seven grand-children; and 17 nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were private.

Memorial donations may be made to the Hospice of Cape Cod, 923 Route 6A, Yarmouthport, MA 02675; or to a charity of one’s choice.


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