Jerry Donovan, former Local 1 Business Manager, passes away

Jerry Donovan, retired Local 1 Business Manager, passed away on Jan. 5 after suffering a heart attack. He was 62.

He was initiated into Local 1 as an apprentice in 1986 and topped out in 1989.

Donovan_COX_6210During his 35 years in the union, Donovan held several positions with Local 1 prior to becoming Business Manager, including Executive Board member, Vice President, President and Business Agent.

Brother Donovan was elected Business Manager in 2016 and held the position until his retirement on Dec. 30, 2020. He passed away a year and five days later. He was a delegate at the 2007, 2012 and 2017 International Conventions.

For those who knew him, Donovan was one-of-a-kind.

“Brother Donovan was the best kind of guy you could meet,” said current Local 1 Business Manager Gary Payuer. “He would help anybody. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Mechanical Insulators LMCT Deputy Director Gina M. Walsh is a member of Local 1, and fondly remembered her friend.

“If you were lucky enough to have Brother Donovan as a friend, you were very lucky indeed,” said Walsh. “He was the most loyal person I have ever known. He believed in second chances and never hesitated to support a Brother or Sister in need of support.”

One of Donovan’s biggest accomplishments was defeating a So-Called “Right to Work” ballot initiative, Payuer said. He also played a key role in keeping coal power plants open in Illinois.

When Donovan retired and Payuer took over as Business Manager, the two spoke on a weekly basis. It is those regular conversations Payuer said he will miss the most. Midwest States Conference International Vice President Mark P. Selby said many people will miss Brother Donovan.

“I can’t think of one person I know who did not like Brother Donovan,” he said. “Whenever I was at any type of event and he was there, I knew I was going to have a good time.”

“Brother Donovan will be sadly missed by both his family and his union family,” Selby added. Brother Donovan loved his family and was always happiest when he was with them.

“He was a family man and was very proud of the young men his boys had become,” said Walsh. “Jake works in IT and Danny followed in his dad’s footsteps as a third-generation Mechanical Insulator.”

Some of Donovan’s favorite pastimes included horse racing, playing softball, soccer and golf. He was a member of the Ramsdale Athletic Club and Keno Club. He will be remembered for his great sense of humor and could make just about anyone laugh with his quick wit.

Brother Donovan is survived by his wife Deni; sons, Jake and Danny; and brother Rick (Sheila Bichsel) Donovan.

The International extends our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Brother Donovan.

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