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Tuesday, October 31, 2023
11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)
92. It's a big number. An impossibly large number. Robert Francis Donnellan has died at 92. Still tough to wrap our heads around it. 92 years. Robert Donnellan, Bob Donnellan, Bob, as everyone knew him, is gone.
He was born on September 25, 1931, in Brooklyn to the late Stephen and Helen (Allen) Donnellan. He had an older brother, Bill, and has a younger brother, Stephen.
He tested his way into Brooklyn Tech, one of the country's most prestigious and selective high schools. He furthered his studies by attending Brooklyn College to pursue a degree in art, but was soon sent to Korea to fight a war. During the war, he was called home because his father was dying. His beloved mother had passed at an early age. When his father died, he was discharged and began to support and care for his younger brother, who was still in high school.
He became an advertising art director, eventually rising to become a vice president of the biggest advertising company in the world at the time. Later, he won two Clio’s—the Oscar for advertising—and a Golden Lion in Berlin.
In his working and younger years, he moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan, to Queens, and then to Westchester, where he began to raise a family with Ellen, “Eileen” Donnellan, nee” Singleton”, from Mount Kisco. They raised five children: Michael, Terence, Kathleen, Erin, and Martin.
Even while commuting to Manhattan for work, he kept the family active. He was a ski instructor on weekends, and we all started skiing from the earliest days of elementary school. We laced up our boots, strapped on our wooden skis, and pushed off on bamboo poles to grab rope tows and J-bars. Summer was swim season. While we were happy swimming, he pursued his biggest sports passion, tennis—he continued playing into his mid-80s.
When we kids were grown, he started spending summer vacations up in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He painted the same sea and sand, fishermen and lobster boats, and lonely lighthouses that inspired numerous other artists drawn to Cape Ann's rugged beauty. Upon retirement, Eileen and Bob, Mom and Dad, moved to Gloucester full-time. He joined the Rocky Neck Art Colony and had numerous exhibitions. Ever active, he taught Sunday school, English as a Second Language classes, and he delivered Meals on Wheels to grateful seniors.
He loved the New York Jets until he couldn't watch them anymore, until he moved to New England, drank the Kool-Aid, and fell in love with the Patriots and Brady. He was well read, kept up with world events, and was never afraid to let you know what he thought. He was fond of his Benchmark community residents and staff. They helped to keep him smiling and he kept them on their toes!! A few even danced when he did a humorous version of Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown in the talent show.
Robert, Bob, leaves a legacy and love that beats proudly inside his children. He is survived by his sons; Michael and Terence, his late son, Martin, daughters; Kathleen and Erin and four grandchildren; Jacqueline and Riley Tetreault and Wes and Cole Kroninger. He took particular comfort and joy in his lively and amusing sons-in-law, Dennis Tetreault and Mark Kroninger, along with many extended family members and friends.
There will be a small private prayer service for family members at: Knollwood Memorial Park, 431 High Street, Canton, MA, on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, at 11:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations honoring Robert may be made to Swim Across America; please reference,
Kitty’s Kats team.
Swim Across America - Boston c/o Jamie Mannion
PO Box 206
300 Broadway Lbby
Revere, MA 02151
Arrangements by James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, Walpole.