Published in the April 20, 2018 edition

MELROSE — William L. Donovan, 85, a longtime resident of Melrose, passed away peacefully at NCH North Naples Hospital in Naples, Fla. on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

Bill was born on March 21, 1933 in Melrose, one of two sons of the late John H. Donovan and Dorothy (Livingston) Donovan. Raised in Stoneham, Bill attended St. Mary’s School in Melrose and Stoneham High School. In 1953, he married Betty, his loving wife of 59 years. They settled in Melrose and were devoted to each other, their six children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

After serving in the US Coast Guard, Bill began his career as a photo engraver at Commerce Engraving. While at Commerce Engraving, Bill also subbed at the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and the Boston Record. Bill finished his career with over 25 years of service to the Salem Evening News.

Bill and Betty spent more than 30 summers at Campsite 7 at Silver Lake State Park in Vermont. They enjoyed traveling to Bermuda with friends and family and in his later years wintering at his condo in Florida. Bill lettered in hockey and baseball at Stoneham High and was an avid sports fan. He was huge supporter of the Red Sox. He loved playing golf especially with his three sons and attending Melrose High baseball games. He and Betty also enjoyed trips to Saratoga, N.Y. for the horse races and loved dancing with each other. Bill was a talented handyman, craftsman and cook. In his retirement years, he loved to start the day with the “boys” with coffee at Trackside.

Bill surrounded himself with his loving family and his faith. He was a charter member of Incarnation Parish and later a member of St. Mary’s Church. He cherished the time with his wife, children and grandchildren. In his last years, Bill was graced to have found his loving friend, Rita Brown to enjoy and share his life with. Bill will be greatly missed.

Bill was the beloved husband of the late Elizabeth A. “Betty” (Landry) Donovan with whom he shared 59 years of marriage, and loving friend to Rita D. Brown of Lynn. Devoted father of Judith A. Wraga and her husband John of Sharon, William L. Donovan, Jr. and his wife Taki of Cary, N.C., Stephen J. Donovan of Newport, R.I., Eileen M. Roman and her husband Jonathan of Wyckoff, N.J., Susan E. Donovan of Buffalo, N.Y., and Brian J. Donovan and Susan Joyce of Danvers. Loving brother of Ronald J. Donovan and his wife Judy of Naples, Fla., and brother-in-law of Patricia O’Neil of Peabody, Barbara Landry of Washington, DC, Constance Gramstorff of North Reading, and the late Robert Landry. Cherished grandfather of John M. Wraga, III, Dr. Katherine Lambert, Alexis Donovan, William L. Donovan, III, Liam Donovan, Hilary Giumara, Samantha Roman, Isabella Roman, Erin Smith, Ryan Smith, Connor Smith, and Julia Smith. Loving great-grandfather of William Lambert, Fletcher Lambert, and James Budu, Jr. Also survived by several nieces and nephews. 

Relatives and friends will gather in honor and remembrance of Bill’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Thursday, April 19 from 4-8 p.m., and again on Friday morning at 9 a.m., before leaving in procession to St. Mary’s Church, Herbert St., Melrose for his funeral Mass celebrated at 10 a.m. Interment with military honors by the US Coast Guard at Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose. Gifts in Bill’s memory may be made to St. Mary’s School, 4 Herbert St., Melrose MA 02176. For directions, or online tribute, visit