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David Rumsey Donovan
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy
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David Rumsey Donovan:

David R. Donovan, 84, of Chapel Hill Farm, Berryville, died Wednesday, September 8, 1999, at his home. David Donovan was the son of General William J. Donovan.

David R. Donovan, Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy,  July 7,  1915 September 8, 1999. Section , Grave 4874A-RH (Buried 6 October 1999).

David Rumsey Donovan (Harvard '38), of Berryville, Virginia, died September 8, 1999. A World War II naval hero, he commanded an advanced amphibious group in the invasion at Oran, helped in planning of the invasion of Sicily, and served on the Ancon, Admiral Hall's flagship, during the landing on Omaha Beach. En route home, he asked for and was given command of a salvage tug and pulled in four crippled warships, ending his service with four campaign medals. After resettling in Virginia as a cattle farmer, he sat on the Clarke County board of supervisors and served as county zoning administrator for nearly 20 years. He leaves his wife, Tippaparin, three daughters, Patricia Gilbert, Deirdre, and Mary Hudson, a son, David, and a stepdaughter,  Diane Peavey.

Rosamond E. Donovan, the second wife of David R. Donovan. June 2, 1915-July 14, 1988. Section 2, Grave 874-A-Right Half.

Sheliah Donovan,  the daughter of David R. Donovan and granddaughter of William Joseph Donovan.

During the afternoon of December 31, 1951, the vehicles came and went from the long, narrow drive that led from the main road to the main house -- the handsome 18th century Federal-style gentleman's residence that Ruth had made from a ruin -- at Chapel Hill Farm.  Ruth and Mary were preparing a dinner party for sixty people, who were to see the New Year in and celebrate the General's 69th birthday.

As part of the preparations for those celebrations, one of the servants sent a cup of silver polish to Ruth's house, to enable her to polish some silverware.  The cup was placed in a bathroom.  There it was found by the General's youngest grandchild, Sheliah.  Sheliah drank the polish without anyone noticing until she walked into the kitchen, where Ruth and Mary were working. She asked for some water, and Ruth gave it to her. Within a moment or two Sheliah had collapsed on the kitchen floor.

Soon Sheliah stopped breathing, and Ruth and Mary gave her artificial respiration until a doctor arrived.  He sent Sheliah to the hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival, producing a scene of terrible sadness in the family similar to that experienced in 1939 when Patricia was killed. Section 2, Grave 4874-A-Left Half.

Mary G. Donovan, the first  wife of David R. Donovan. April  14, 1917-July 25, 1953. Section 2 Grave 4874-A-Left Half.

For years, Donovan's daughter-in-law, Mary, had been accepted as a daughter, almost as a substitute for Patricia.  Frequently she had acted as Donovan's official hostess, accompanying him on journeys throughout the world.  But when Sheliah died from the poison in the silver polish, Mary seemed to come unhinged.  She had great difficulty in sleeping and a doctor prescribed sedatives, which she used carelessly.

On July 25, 1955, Ruth went to Mary's bedroom at Nonquitt and found her dead.  Police and pathologists' inquiries showed that the cause of death was an excessive dose of barbiturates.  It was believed that before retiring, she had taken liquor and then pills, as usual in the hope that she would sleep more soundly.  On several occasions in the middle of the night she must have awakened and in her befuddled state taken more pills in the belief that she had forgotten to take them earlier.  As a result, she had taken a lethal dose and had died in her sleep.


MRS. DAVID R. DONOVAN

SOUTH DARTMOUTH, Massachusetts - July 25, 1955 - Mrs. Mary Donovan of Berryville, Virginia, daughter-in-law of Major General Willai, J. (Wild Bill) Donovan, wartime head of the Officer of Strategic Services, was found dead in bed today at the General's summer home. She was the wife of David R. Donovan.

Medical Examiner William Rosen ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.  Police Chief James S. Hervey said: "We are prerry well satisfied there is no voilence connected with the death."

Themother of five children ranging in age from 6 to 14, Mrs. Donovan was visiting here.  She was the former Mary Grandin of Warren, Pennsylvania.


DONOVAN, DAVID R
LCDR   US NAVY
WORLD WAR II
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/07/1915
DATE OF DEATH: 09/08/1999
BURIED AT: SECTION 2  SITE 4874A RH
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

DONOVAN, SHEILA D/O DAVID RUMSEY
DATE OF BIRTH: 04/22/1948
DATE OF DEATH: 12/31/1951
BURIED AT: SECTION 2  SITE 4874A RH
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
 DAUGHTER OF DR DONOVAN, LT CDR USNR

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Posted: 3 September 2005