Larry Donoghue, 1919-2023


Larry Donoghue, 1919-2023

John Van Horn


For those of you who were honored to know Larry, you know that he was a good man, a gentleman, and a wonderful story teller. We received this from his daughter Patti. I post it without any changes. “Laurie?” Who Knew… Take a few minutes and read it through. This is truly Larry.


This is Patti Cashman, one of Larry/Laurie’s children. I would like to let you know that my dad passed away peacefully on Sept 4. I am including the obituary Dad wrote for himself. He was never at a loss for words as his obit will show. He was a good father and a good and kind man.


Donoghue, John L. ‘Laurie/Larry’ Laurie Donoghue, Captain USNR Ret., 104, of Evanston, Illinois, passed away on September 4, 2023. Beloved husband for 74 years of Colleen (Connie) Donoghue, nee Craven.


Proud father of Lawrence (Anne), Gerald (Maria), Patricia (Michael Cashman, deceased), Kevin (Anita) and Terry. Fond uncle of numerous nephews and nieces. Grandpa of nine and great grandpa of eleven.


Laurie was born in Chicago on February 23, 1919, the son of George T. and Clara Donoghue (nee Roche). George Donoghue was a former general superintendent of the Chicago Park District. Clara Roche was a teacher and was originally from Aberdeen, SD. Laurie had two brothers (George Jr. and Edmund) and four sisters (Katherine, Marie, Sheila and Cecily).


Laurie grew up in Chicago, first in the Ravenswood neighborhood and then, after his father’s promotion to general superintendent of the park district, in a house located inside one of the city’s parks, Washington Park.


Despite Laurie’s kindergarten teacher telling his parents that he was too delicate for school, he went on to graduate from Loyola Academy (1937) and the Illinois Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering (1941). He performed well academically in school. But, when he was at Loyola, he and several classmates were occasionally pranksters, and were brought to school justice several times.


Laurie’s first job was working as a stress analyst for the Martin Aircraft Company in Baltimore, MD. He then joined the Stinson Aircraft Company in Ypsilanti, MI, as a senior stress analyst.


In December 1942, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an engineering officer. After 90 days of indoctrination training, he attended several Navy technical training programs, including one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then joined the U.S. Navy Fighter Squadron 36 located in San Ysidro, CA, as Engineering Officer responsible for the maintenance and repair of Grumman Aircraft F6F Hellcats.


The Squadron spent 90 days in training at the Naval Air Station at San Diego, CA, and then transferred to the U.S. Naval Station in Hilo, HI, where they joined a Bomber Squadron and Torpedo Squadron to become Air Squadron Group 18, based at Honolulu, HI, for training as a Group. In December 1943, the Air Group was assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Intrepid. After a short period of initial operations and training, the ship sailed to Majuro in the Marshall Islands and became part of the fleet that was commanded by Admiral “Bull” Halsey and operating in the Western Pacific Ocean. Contact was made with the Japanese fleet during the Battle of the Philippines. During that battle, in October and November 1944, the Intrepid’s flight deck was struck by three Japanese kamikaze (suicide) bombers. These attacks caused the death of 79 Naval crew members. The Intrepid sailed back to San Francisco and was put into dry dock for repairs.


Following a 30-day leave, Laurie was reassigned to the Naval Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, DC, serving as Design Engineering Officer reviewing the structural design calculations for airplanes manufactured by the Grumman Aircraft Company. He stayed in this job until his discharge from the Navy in December 1946.


Laurie then joined the Ralph H. Burke Consulting Engineering firm as a planning engineer. The Burke firm’s first major contract was for the selection of the site and the engineering and architectural design of the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, which became the largest airport in the world. Among many projects the Burke firm conducted for municipalities in the Chicago and the Midwest was a project to provide shore protection for the Evanston lakefront, to prevent erosion of the beaches and other lakefront property. While planning this project on site, he frequently brought along several of his children as junior surveyors.


In 1956, Laurie rose to Vice President, and in 1960 became President and CEO. In 1992, he resigned, sold his stock to younger employees and started Larry Donoghue Associates Inc., parking consultants. He headed this firm until June 2015, when he retired at 96 years old.


Laurie met his future wife, Connie, as a result of the loving machinations by his younger sister, Cecily. Cecily had been admitted to Passavant Hospital to give birth to her first child, John, in 1948. One of the nurses who attended her was a pretty and stylish young woman, Colleen Craven, who was single. Cecily arranged for Mr. Donoghue to visit her in the hospital when Nurse Craven was on duty. The two hit it off and were married on February 5, 1949, at Holy Name Cathedral. Their wedding reception was at the Edgewater Beach Hotel and they honeymooned in New Orleans. They returned to New Orleans many times during their married life, most recently for Mardi Gras in 2017.


Laurie and Connie enjoyed traveling and took many memorable family driving vacations with their children. They saw Washington, DC; Miami; New England; the Badlands and Rapid City, SD; Los Angeles (including Disneyland) and the Pacific Northwest. Later on, with their adult children, spouses and grandchildren, they took several vacations with this extended family. Banff, Canada, was one of the most enjoyable destinations of all.


Laurie and Connie also loved traveling together, taking ski trips until well into their 70s and taking several European trips. They enjoyed being with family at holidays and on many other occasions. They also loved seeing plays and the opera. Friends were important to Laurie and he had many life-long friends.


Laurie and Connie were long-time residents of Glenview. Laurie was active in his church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and was a lector for several years. They moved to Evanston in 2013.


Laurie was a master story teller who could captivate an audience. He also enjoyed giving advice, wanted or not, to his children. He wrote a letter to his children when they turned 21 that provided guidance about life issues. He also provided advice to friends, including writing a piece called “How to Know You’re in Love” for a friend’s son who was in a romantic quandary.


During retirement Laurie did volunteer work and spent time visiting with widows and widowers who lived in his apartment building and at St. Benedict’s, as well as counting the Sunday collections at his parish church, St. Athanasius in Evanston.


Laurie enjoyed reading, particularly short stories, as well as working puzzles and brain teasers. He loved the annual family reunions with his nephews and nieces and their growing families.


Laurie once said that he attributed his longevity to two things – picking the right parents and having a loving partner.


A memorial service for Mr. Donoghue will be held at a date to be determined. He has donated his body to medical science.


Most of us knew Larry as a parking guy. He toured the world, looking for ways that people ‘stole’ from parking operations and then recommending ways to plug those holes through his ‘operational audits.’ He joined us at PIE in Chicago when he was 100 years old and regaled the crowd with stories of how to live a ‘long life.’


He said that he retired at 96 after his children held an intervention and

convinced him that he was needed at home to care for his wife. “What  if  they  fell”, they told him.


 It is telling that in the more than 1,100 words he wrote about his life (above) he mentioned parking only tangentially. Larry was a man who loved his God, his country, his wife, and his family.  I’m sure that is how he would want to be remembered.


‘Good Night Sweet Prince, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”


From JVH

October 2023

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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