PALM BEACH — Walter Richard Donahue, who moved to Florida in 1982 after a prosperous business career with several major U.S. corporations, died Feb. 24, nine weeks shy of his 91st birthday.
His second wife, Mary Sloneker Donahue, said he was one of the most wonderful men she’d ever met.
“He loved his family and he loved the Catholic Church,” she said.
Born April 30, 1920, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Mr. Donahue attended Swarthmore College until the beginning of World War II, when he joined the U.S. Army as a member of the fighter training system. During the war, at the onset of the Army’s first large daylight raid on Berlin, Mr. Donahue’s B-17 Bomber was shot down by enemy fire.
He bailed, but was captured and held as a prisoner of war for 14 months.
Following the war, Mr. Donahue returned from his overseas service and resumed his college education, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University.
Mr. Donahue worked for United States Steel Corp. in Pittsburgh, followed by Esso Standard Oil Co. in Linden, N.J., He then worked for the McGraw-Hill Co. in New York, Boston and Philadelphia for the next 26 years. He closed his career as vice president of sales for Business Week.
It was then, 29 years ago, that Mr. Donahue began spending his retirement years in both South Florida and Rhode Island with his first wife, the former Beverly Winslow.
When she died in January 2004, the couple had been married 53 years, many of them spent enjoying the South Florida lifestyle in locations including coastal Delray Beach.
Kevin Bauer, general manager of the Gulf Stream Golf Club, said Mr. Donahue was a long-time member who served as president of their board from 1993-95.
During their long and loving marriage, Mr. Donahue and his first wife had four children, who survive him. They are Alston Geer of Charleston, S.C.; Deirdre D. London of East Greenwich, R.I., Carol A. Donahue of Gwymedd Valley, Pa., and Walter Richard Donahue Jr. of Saunderstown, R.I
Mary Sloneker Donahue said she married into the Donahue family five years ago.
“He was such a loving guy and his sense of humor was wonderful,” she said.
Mr. Donahue was an active member St. Edward’s Catholic Church, where a memorial service was held for him on Feb. 26.