Jeanette Donovan

  • Died: May 14, 2017
  • Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

D O McComb and Sons - Maplewood Park

4017 Maplecrest Rd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46815

Tel. (260) 426-9494

Tribute & Message From The Family

Jeanette Donovan, 53, passed away Sunday, May 14, 2017 in Fort Wayne. She was passionate about family, her faith, teaching and her students, and Purdue University.

Born in Indianapolis, Ind., Jeanette was a 1981 graduate of Bishop Dwenger High School, completed her Bachelor's degree from Purdue University, and two Master's degrees from IPFW. She was a proud educator in the Fort Wayne South Bend Diocese for over 30 years, starting at Sacred Heart in 1985, continuing as teacher and principal at Benoit Academy in 1997, and moving to St. Therese in 2008 where she assumed the role of principal for the current school year. She was also director of the St. Henry's Summer Clubhouse for the past seven years, and she was a board member for the Gardens of St. Henry.

Surviving are her mother, Mary Helen Donovan of Fort Wayne; siblings, Mike Donovan of Fort Wayne, Margaret Donovan of Fort Wayne, Mary Kay Donovan of Fort Wayne, and Rick (Sabrina) Donovan of Fort Wayne; nieces Alixandria (Steven) Pelych and Madelyn Donovan; nephew Campbell Donovan; great-niece Gracelyn Pelych; extended family, lifelong friends, and countless students. She is preceded in death by her father John R. "Jack" Donovan.

Mass of Christian burial is 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 19, 2017, at St. Therese Catholic Church, 2304 Lower Huntington Road, with calling one hour prior. Calling also at D.O. McComb and Sons Maplewood Park Funeral Home, 4017 Maplecrest Rd, Thursday, May 18, 2017, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., with a time of sharing memories of Jeanette's life starting at 7:30 pm. Burial in Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Catholic Community Foundation of NE Indiana to benefit the Jeanette Donovan Education Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 390, Fort Wayne, IN 46801).
To sign the online guest book, go to


Condolence & Memory Journal


Rest in peace. My your family find peace and strength from your love and memory and faith.

Posted by Diane Bailey (Cuny) - castle pines, CO - Classmate   May 31, 2017

To the family of Ms. D

I met Ms. D in 1985 when she started at Sacred Heart. My first memory was of her laugh. You could here it through the school. She was a kindergarten teacher at the time and they seemed to just love her. Ms D was the assistant coach for every sport I played from volleyball, softball and basketball. For my eighth grade trip her, along with Mr. Goggin, took all of us to Chicago where I got to see my first Cubs game. I loved her then, and was so thrilled when I saw her walk into the halls of St Therese. My daughter Hanna got benefit from someone who played a huge roll in my childhood. I will never forget her telling me how happy she was to see me out coaching the kids at St. Therese as she did for me so many years ago. She took my daughter under her wing when math just did not make sense and instilled knowledge and confidence I had never seen. As I watched my daughter graduate this weekend from Bishop Luers I could not help but think of Ms. D and the role she had in helping to make that happen. Thank you all for sharing your daughter, sister, aunt and friend with all of us students whose lives she made a difference in.

Posted by Shelly Rhoden - Fort Wayne, IN - Student   May 29, 2017

To the family of Ms. Donovan;

Thank you for sharing this special woman with all of us, her former students at Benoit. As someone who was sent to her office more than once, I can honestly say she was tough but fair, kind and compassionate. She cared, and that made a difference in my life.

As an adult, I have tremendous respect for her and how difficult that job must have been. Yet she did it with grace and skill. She will be missed by many.

Condolences to you all.
Jacob Slane

Posted by Jacob Slane - Santa Monica, CA - Student   May 27, 2017

Donovan Family,

We just want you to know what a great teacher and mentor Jeanette was for all of our children. She was also a beautiful person and friend. We will always remember her warm smile and hearty laugh. May you find some comfort in knowing that she made a difference in the lives of all the students she taught and served.

God Bless,

Joe and Lauri Braun

Posted by Joe and Lauri Braun - Fort Wayne, IN - Friend   May 25, 2017

Donovan Family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult times of loss.

Dr. Bussick and Staff

Posted by Timothy Bussick - Fort Wayne, IN   May 22, 2017

Dear Donovans,

I write this knowing people are assembling for Jeanette's funeral. Maybe it's my way of being there too, honoring my cousin's life which, based on all the heartfelt guest book comments, was a good and caring one.

Communicating with Mary Kay and Margy over the years, I know that Jeanette lived a full and happy life. There are people who live to be 100 who don't have the impact on people that Jeanette had.

What sticks with me is the student who said: She had the loudest laugh. What a great way to remember Jeanette! And it was the same, insightful student who said she will be in all of our hearts. Agreed. I am so sorry for your loss, but comforted by knowing she was such a gain for so many.

Posted by Stephanie Sallaska - Pisgah Forest, NC   May 20, 2017

I will miss her greatly. Worked for her at Benoit Academy and St Patrick's clubhouse for many years. Sorry I was unable to attend the services, but my prayers are with her family and our many friends.

Posted by GorDon Martin - Fort wayne, IN - Friend   May 20, 2017

I will always remember Jeanette's easy smile and her love of kids. Rest in Peace Jeannette, thank you for sharing your love and knowledge with countless kids over the years, your legacy lives on in them. Rest in the Peace of Christ.

Posted by Jim Mount - Fort Wayne, IN - Family Friend   May 19, 2017

Dear Donovan Family,
My heart breaks for your loss, and yet I know that Jeanette has touched so many life's that she will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
Your family has always been an inspiration to me and will continue to be so in the days to come.
Sending my love,
Peggy Daugherty Sweeney

Posted by Peggy sweeney(Daugherty) - Cincinnati, OH - Family Friend   May 19, 2017

When I left home in Ohio and entered Purdue University as a freshman, I didn't know another soul attending the school. Luckily, I ended up in a suite with Jeanette, and in her kind, outgoing, generous way, she welcomed me and brought me into her world. That time in McCutcheon Hall is full of wonderful memories, and I'm so sad that future "newbies" of all types won't have her to ease their way.

Thank you, Jeanette, for loving all of us who needed you.

Kathy "Mick" (Metro) Gerrard

Posted by Kathleen Gerrard - Hudson, OH - Friend   May 19, 2017

My prayers are with the Donovan family,
I was pastor of Sacred Heart when Sister Susan, the principal, hired Jeanette as teacher there. Sister thought very highly of her. Jeannette's long career serving children validated the first impressions she made as a beginning teacher at Sacred Heart so long ago..
Patrick Durkin

Posted by Patrick Durkin - Indianapolis, IN - Coworker   May 18, 2017

My sincere sympathy on the loss of your beloved Jeanette. I was almost a senior in high school when we moved in next door to your wonderful family. The Hayden and Donovan girls seemed so much younger than me then! I remember Jeanette always had the biggest smile for me whenever I would see her! You must be so very proud of her. May God bless all of you at this difficult time. Sending love and prayers, Marcia

Posted by Marcia (Hayden) Pardekooper - Cincinnati, OH - Neighbor   May 18, 2017

To the family of Ms. Donovan I send my deepest condolences. She was my children's teacher - my kids are 26 and 22 now. She was a very sweet and caring person. We were just speaking of her last week. I will keep you all in my prayers.

Posted by Pam McGee - Fort Wayne, IN   May 18, 2017

I would like to send my condolences to Ms. Donovan's family. Jeanette was my Kindergarten teacher and my principal at Benoit Academy. She would always put a huge smile on my face when she called me by the nickname she gave me "Shayla Shoe". Ms. Donovan was loved and very much so respected, and she will always be remembered. Rest peacefully! Forever your Shayla Shoe

Posted by Shayla Harrison - Fort Wayne, IN - Student   May 18, 2017

To the Donovan Family, You are in our thoughts and prayers. Jeannette was such a wonderful person, always helpful and smiling and will be missed by all. God Bless your Family. Anne, Steve and Tom Ehrman

Posted by Anne, Steve & Tom Ehrman - Fort Wayne, IN - Friend   May 18, 2017

Wow I can't believe she's gone I remember the good times at benoit academy during the first six years I was there from when she was the principal to her being my teacher in the 5th and 6th grade her and Chuck will be missed dearly, I remembered the time I was the only one to leave the classroom alot and she asked me why and I said I don't know,I will miss her laughs and smile for rest of my life she touched many and when school let out she was always the last one to stay till late at night. Rest in peace Mrs Donovan. I will play the song "See You Again" in remembering the life and passion of Mrs Donovan

Posted by Michael Savard - New Haven, IN   May 17, 2017

To the Donovan Family,
So shocked to learn of Jeanette's passing. I worked with her at Benoit Academy, and St. Therese. We could hear her infectious laughter all over the halls, and sometimes some tough words to the ornery students. She will be missed by many. Especially all her children. I know she loved them all.

Posted by M.J. Kirby - Fort Wayne, IN   May 17, 2017

So sorry to hear about Jeanette's passing. Didn't know her very well but we all knew our neighbors in New Glenwood. She is with God & her Dad now.

Posted by Bev McFadden - Ft Wayne, SC - Neighbor   May 17, 2017


Mary Helen Donovan and family we are so very sorry at the lose of Jeanette. You are all in your prayers and thoughts.

Posted by Anne Donovan - Knoxville, TN   May 17, 2017

So much sadness in my heart for all the Donovans. Love, hugs and prayers from our family to yours.

Posted by Jeff Campbell - Chillicothe, OH - Family   May 17, 2017

So very sad to hear of Jeanette's passing...She was a great Principal at Benoit Academy and helped give our children a great start in life! She helped with so many events at St. Henry's and always made it a very special place to be..
Her laughter filled the hallways...She will always be missed...
With Deepest Sympathy, The Kirstine Family, Scott, Lori, Jarrod and Justine

Posted by Lori Kirstine - Clever, MO - Friend   May 17, 2017

Some of the best memories of my life were playing bingo and listening to Buffet and Rod Stewart with her. She will be missed. Sara Omlor Hein

Posted by A friend   May 17, 2017

I am so sorry for your loss of Jeanette. She touched so many lives. I hope you can find some comfort knowing how much she was treasured and loved.

Posted by Janet Green - Acquaintance   May 17, 2017

I am praying for your family. Miss Donovan was a great teacher. She always made math fun. She helped us understand it better. We had so much fun.

Miss Donovan made learning fun by adding games. She would tease us and laugh. She made learning easy. She found a lot of ways to help us learn faster so we could move on.

Miss Donovan might be gone on earth, but she is not gone in our hearts and minds.

I am sorry for your loss. I will always remember all the good times we shared.

Miss Donovan is one of my favorite teacher. She always teased me.

She always made learning fun and always put us first.

Miss Donovan was a very kind and caring teacher. She enjoyed doing Gingerbread houses with us. Miss Donovan always read books to us. She loved the movie the Sound of Music. She would always come to our Christmas programs. Before class Miss Donovan would let us run to get exercise. I was very sad to hear that Miss Donovan died. She always made learning fun.

I miss Miss Donovan a lot. We are praying for you and your family.

She was a wonderful woman. I was very close to her. I hope you can get through these hard times.

Miss Donovan was a good teacher and a good friend. I loved having her around. She was always nice and caring. She was the best fourth grade teacher I ever had.

Miss D did everything for Jesus . She never stopped caring for others. Even after her dad's passing she always said good morning or how is your day. Miss D was surly a gift from God!

She made being at school better. Miss Donovan was the best math teacher ever.

I am very sorry for your loss. Miss D improved our school and my life. My mother and grandma knew her well. My grandma was one of her best friends. She will be missed by many.

Posted by St. Therese Students Grade 5 - Student   May 17, 2017

Mike and family I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers .

Posted by Sheila Hoelderle - Fort Wayne, IN - Friend   May 17, 2017

Ms. Donovan I just want to thank you for all that you did for my girls (Shayla shoe and Bumble Bee), you are truly loved as such a wonderful person.
So sorry for your loss!
Paula Harrison and family

Posted by A friend   May 17, 2017

Very sorry for your loss
Our thoughts and prayers are with you

Posted by Brian O'Herron - Collegepoint, NY - Family Friend   May 17, 2017

Mrs. Mary Helen Donovan and Family:

Please accept our deepest sympathy on the loss of your loved one, Jeanette Donovan.

God's blessings to the Donovan Family.


Mr. and Mrs. William C. Phillips

Posted by WILLIAM C. AND DONNA J. PHILLIPS - FORT WAYNE, IN - Family Friend   May 17, 2017

Miss Donovan was always nice to us when we were being picked on. Even if she was not there, she would know we were telling the truth.

She always made learning fun. She was always happy to see everybody. She always shared a smile no matter what mood she was in.

I am sorry for your lose. I hope that you realize that Miss Donovan is in a better place now.

Miss Donovan was the greatest teacher and friend there could be. When you felt down, sad, or angry she would help you calm down and feel relaxed. She had the loudest laugh. There will always be the one Miss Donovan in all of our hearts. We will always love her.

Miss Donovan was a great teacher. She made learning fun. She would like to tease us and then laugh. She always read us stories and gave us candy.

She was a big part of our lives. If she were here right now, she would be taking care of all the people in her life. Right now she is probably looking down on all of us.

She was a good person. She liked to play games with us. She always gave me a hug in the morning and the afternoon. She always helped me. She always made jokes and stories that made me laugh. She liked to tease us and laugh. I loved her.

She may be in heaven, but she won't stop cracking on us. She is my favorite teacher. I remember that I pranked her once and she asked if I was okay. She fell for it and we both laughed for a long while.

Miss Donovan was a loving principal. She cared about us and put us before herself. She was thoughtful and always creative.

Miss Donovan was a great teacher and a great principal. I am sorry for your lose. It is a great lose for us too. We had so much fun together. She would even let us play math games with a fly swatter. Sometimes we could even throw snowballs made out of paper in the classroom. I will keep you in my prayers forever.

Posted by St. Therese Students Grade 5 - Student   May 17, 2017

My dear sweet friend! From the 1st time I met you about 20 +years ago I knew we would be friends. You had no idea the impact that you had on my life. And not just mine but my grandsons and even Lucy :) I find comfort knowing you are dancing with Jesus and with your beloved Jack ♡ Heart broken says it all!!! You will forever be remembered my sweet friend ♡♡♡

Posted by carol magee - ft.wayne, IN   May 17, 2017

My Dear Donovan Friends,
WOW! I can't believe we are without her physical presence anymore. I will never forget my first meeting of Jeanette. I was interviewing for a position at Benoit Academy and they called her off the golf course. The meeting was unscheduled and she just kept apologizing that she was dressed for golfing and not interviewing. I still laugh when I think of that day. How blessed I was to be able to work for with her for nearly 20 years. I always called her Captain and that is what she was. She was always there for her students, their families and her coworkers and friends. Jeanette, Chuck and I had a lot of great times and laughs together and now they are laughing and carrying on in Heaven. What a Choir of Angels up there now! We are so blessed that she is still with us always in spirit. I miss you Captain every minute of every day.

Posted by Kim Kiracofe - Convoy, OH - Friend   May 17, 2017

I'll always remember Jeanette. We called her Bean! She always made me feel better when I came to our yearly Vegas trips. I felt somewhat awkward because everyone knew everybody else. She would smile, say a little joke & then I felt like I fit in. Always laughing & fun. She will be missed. xxoo

Posted by Laura Bonamo - Lake Mary, FL - Friend   May 16, 2017

Jeannette you are a treasure. You will be missed by many at St. Therese. Thank you for your passion for our children and Christ in their lives.

Posted by Terry Tescula - Friend   May 16, 2017

Our deepest sympathies. Jeanette was a phenomenal person! She will truly be missed by all she touched.

Posted by Ksenia Kowal - Fort Wayne, IN   May 16, 2017

My condolences to your family at the passing of Jeanette Donovan. God's peace and blessings to your family at this time.

Posted by Danielle Boneff - Fort Wayne, IN - Student   May 16, 2017

Ms. Donovan, So grateful for you and everything you have done for our school. I won't forget our many talks about how important school is or talking to me about my future as I grow older. I will miss coming to your office and sitting when I didn't have a good day.. I know you are resting peacefully! You will forever be missed. -Isaiah M. 4th grade

Posted by Isaiah Moore - Fort Wayne, IN - Student   May 16, 2017

So sorry to hear of Jeannette's passing.........I remember her as always laughing, and enjoying life:):). I am sure that Jeannette and Bevie are already having a good time being ornery:):):):)

Posted by Joan Malmstrom - Visalia, CA - Family   May 16, 2017

Dearest Family,
As I didnt know her very well, i feel as though we were great friends. Our daughter Carin (weiler) Freiburger, spoke so often and so highly of Jeannette's passion for teaching and love of Christ. May her sweet soul find the comfort she yearned for here in the arms of our Lord.
Most sincere prayers,
Mr. & Mrs. Dan Weiler
7123 w 900 n.
Connersville, In 47331

Posted by Dan & Laura Weiler - connervile, IN - Acquaintance   May 16, 2017

U help me become the person I am today u was always there every day for me through out my schooling ur the best teacher and princeable anyone could ask for you will be dearly missed

Posted by Justin Mills - Ft wayne, IN - Student   May 16, 2017


I will miss you so very much. You were the sunshine in my life. My prayers to your family and friends. Life just won't be the same without you.
I will never forget you My friend
You must be Heavens most special, beautiful Angel

Posted by Darlene Williams - Fort Wayne, IN - Friend   May 16, 2017

Family Album