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Gard Funeral Home & Cremation Services - Eaton
Monday November 29th, 2021
3:00pm - 5:00pm

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James Elvin Donovan

James Elvin Donovan (“Jim” or “Jimmy D”), 78, of Westerville OH, passed away on November 16, 2021, after a brief illness. He had a lot of love in his heart, and he gave it all away freely...every last drop. He is now with his beloved wife of 57 years—Sandra Eversole Donovan—who preceded him in death by 10 months. If you knew Jim, then you knew what a kind and wonderful man he truly was.

Jim was born on July 9th, 1943, to the late Juren Estel and Drucilla B. Donovan in Ashland, KY. A standout athlete in multiple sports, Jim was a High School Prep All-American and All NEKC selection. After Jim graduated from Catlettsburg High School in 1961, he went on to attend Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University graduating with a master’s degree in Education.

His passion for sports was matched by his passion for educating children. In his early years as an educator, Jim combined these passions to coach basketball and teach history. During his educational tenure he served as a: teacher, coach, counselor, principal and district administrator. Jim helped countless students throughout his career spanning nearly 40 years.

Jim was an exceptional listener, counselor, confidant, friend, avid golfer, fisherman, hunter, reader, historian, and lover of life and all the good things in it. Jimmy D was the life of the party, and what a party his life was!

His family adored him. He was a dedicated son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and member of his community. He sacrificed greatly for them all. He will be missed but never forgotten.

In addition to his parents and beloved wife, he was also preceded in death by his niece Sarah Ogrosky Stellings.

He is survived by his daughter Katy (Jim) Myers; son Jay (Missy) Donovan; grandchildren; Joli Myers, Kassie Myers, Jake Donovan, and Mattie Donovan; sibling Dee (Tom) Shoemaker; nieces and nephews DeeAnna (Mark) Chickerella, Mary Lee Power, Allison (Don) Wagner, Anne (Nitin) Mall, Elynor (Jeff) Moxley, Sarah (Mike) Brennan, Alex Eversole, and Lee Eversole; siblings-in-law Meridythe (Wally) McLean, Deborah (George) Stellings, and Jesse (Susan) Eversole.

To honor both Jim and Sandy Donovan, there will be a visitation at Gard Funeral Home, 226 W. Main Street, Eaton, Ohio, 45320, from 3:00 - 5:00 pm on Monday, November 29, 2021.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Preble County Youth Foundation, PO Box 172, Eaton, Ohio 45320.

Online condolences and other remembrances may be sent to the family by visiting www.gardfuneralhome.com.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Donovan, please visit our flower store.


What a great teacher, principal, and role model. Mr Donovan was not only a friend many years ago to me as a student, but he was a friend of my family. So sorry to hear of his passing, but so appreciate knowing him.

Rob Schuler Nov 25 2021 10:04 AM

For many years Jim was like a brother to my departed brother John Bates. The last time I saw him was at John's Memorial Service in 1999. He spoke of wonderful and humorous memories he shared of and with John growing up. If John were still here I'm sure he would want to do the same for Jim. I would like to think they now having a glorious reunion in heaven. Jim was such a great guy and friend.God Bless.

Missi “Drusilla” Bates Elmquist Nov 24 2021 7:24 PM

We are so sad to hear of Jim's passing. We have a lot of good memories of our times together on Caldwell Street in Chillicothe. And a lot of those were spent on Donovan's front porch.....lots of smiles and laughter. We were a lot younger then! And Jim and Fred loved golfing with their friends. Our sympathies to the entire family. He was a good one!

Fred and Gretchen Steele Nov 24 2021 10:43 AM

I am saddened to hear of Mr. Donovan's, and also Sandy's, passing. I was fond of both of them and have good memories being one of his "kids" and her coworker. Prayers for peace for you all

Davida McGehee Nov 23 2021 12:16 PM

Deepest sympathy to the family. He was a fine gentlemen, very fair in his dealings with staff and students. His laughter was contagious. Thinking of all of you .

Carol Aukerman Nov 22 2021 10:21 AM

Deepest condolences to Jim's family… I worked with him at Bruce Elementary which were great years for both students and staff. Jim 's people skills were evident with the relationships he formed with his students and staff. I have such good memories or the years he was there. Thinking of you all…

Bonnie Yates Nov 22 2021 9:20 AM

Mr. Donovan (aka Jimmy D) will sadly be missed. He was great man. Thoughts and Prayers for the families during this difficult time.

Mason family Nov 21 2021 7:34 PM