Cover photo for Joseph Donoian's Obituary
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Joseph Donoian

d. September 5, 2023

Joseph Donoian

Joseph “Joe” Donoian, Age 92 of Quincy, Massachusetts passed away peacefully on September 5, 2023. Joe was loved by all who knew him – the life of the party and always quick with a witty remark.

He is survived by his wife Frances (Wallace) Donoian. Also survived by 5 children, Joseph Donoian, Debra McNeil and her husband Lee, Susan Donoian, Laurie Donoian with his former wife, and MaryEllen Weikert and her husband Jorgen, 8 grandchildren, Joslyn, Matthew, Timothy, Evan, Jamison, Shauna, Catherine and Olivia, and many great- grandchildren. He was the son of the late Frank and Elvira (Palmieri) Donoian and grew up in South Boston. He is survived by his siblings Anna and her late husband Leo Perry, George and Dora Donoian, his late brother Louie Donoian, Marie and her late husband George Pickering, Theresa and Tom Gregoire, Johnny and Joannie Donoian and Danny and Robin Donoian, and many nieces and nephews.

Joe joined the Army in 1949 and served in active combat during the Korean War. He was a mechanical draftsman by trade, but his real passion was dancing and music. He worked as an instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance studio – teaching Swing dancing, including the Jitterbug. Later in life he played in a band, Group 4, with his brother Louie and incorporated his draftsman skills by creating a “Drummer Boy”, a mechanical synthesizer that would create percussion-like sounds. This would come in handy during the family Christmas parties on Royal Street, where Joe and his brother Louie would break out their guitars, amps and mics – to play and sing Christmas songs with everyone.

He was a Jack-of-all-Trades always fixing or building; fencing in the yard on Royal Street or building a deck around the above-ground pool to host family cookouts which included water-volleyball and badminton. Joe treasured his annual vacations to the Elms with his family and friends, and enjoyed his vacations to Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic.

Joe left Quincy about 35 years ago and moved to Fairway Villages in Largo, Florida and treasured his quiet home on the golf course. He, brother Louie, friend Ronnie Kilgallon, and brother-in-law Leo could often be found golfing, having a few beers and sharing many laughs. Joe loved to take Fran to the VFW to watch the sunset and meet with friends for a night out. Although he lived in Florida, Joe was an avid Red Sox fan, always cheering on his hometown team. His last year in Florida, when it was clear that Joe and Fran needed assistance, they were blessed to have Marion MacPherson, a friend and neighbor, who took care of them. Marion made sure they were healthy and safe. Pizza Night was one of Joe’s favorite, and included Gerry
Buck, Marion’s brother-in-law. Joe was also blessed to have Nephew Tommy Gregoire who lived close by, doing wellness checks, taking him to appointments or chatting and enjoying a “nice cold beer”.

In May of 2023, Joe and Fran moved back to Quincy. In the few short months that they were here, Joe enjoyed many outings for fried clams and his nice cold beer. Family and friends visited often, including the Burns girls from Royal Street. He visited Castle Island to watch the planes, toured Southie to see how much it’s changed, and even visited 0 Street where he grew up. Joe reminisced about “the good old days”, when you could “just walk to the beach and jump right in”. He remembered playing football in the street with brother Louie, with a “paper-bag tied up with a string” and commented on how much “simpler things were back then”.

Joe passed on his love of music, sports and his ability to build and fix, to his children, and now when they say “my Dad taught me this” it will be a reminder of just how special a Dad he was. And although we will all tremendously miss Joe, we will find comfort in knowing that he’s at peace, and once again playing the guitar alongside brother Louie and enjoying a nice cold beer.

Joe’s family will remember him with a formal military burial at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne on Monday, October 2nd at 12:45 PM.


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Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, October 1, 2023

1:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Monday, October 2, 2023

Starts at 12:45 pm (Eastern time)

MA National Cemetery

Connery Avenue, Bourne, MA

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