William's Story

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William E. Donahue of Plattsburgh (formerly of Dannemora) passed away on Friday, March 24, 2017, at UVM Health Network-CVPH Medical Center surrounded by his blended family. He was 91. Born Nov. 1, 1925, in Dannemora, he was the son of William and Margaret Donahue. Bill grew up in the village that he loved. His youth was spent exploring the world available to him in small town America in a more innocent time. He graduated from Dannemora High School where he excelled in sports especially baseball. His Irish Catholic upbringing had a big impact on him and after high school he left to attend seminary school at Wadhams Hall to explore his calling for the priesthood. An unfortunate injury from a football game ended that sector of his life as he was sent home to recuperate. His civic duty was his next calling and he joined the Army to do his part in World War II as part of the invasion force at Anzio Beach in Italy and later throughout Europe. When he returned home from the war he did a short hitch working in the Republic Steel Mines in Lyon Mountain and working for the local car dealership before becoming a Correction Officer at Clinton Correctional Facility. It was during this time that he married Madelyn "Maddy" (Coulon) who predeceased him. Together they raised their four children in the village they both loved. He often said that he was never more proud to be an Irishman than on that special St. Patrick's Day when his daughter Peg was born. His career in the Department of Corrections would span 43 years. Bill transitioned from Correction Officer to civilian status when he was put in charge of the new "Volunteer Services Program" at the facility and later became Administrator of the Clinton Annex. He graduated from Empire State University with a degree in Criminal Justice and taught an evening course in Criminal Justice at Clinton Community College. He later opened Altona Correctional Facility as the first Superintendent where he remained until his retirement in 1991. Along the way Bill never forgot his roots in Dannemora. He joined the local fire department, was a loyal member of the Knights of Columbus, the Lyon Mountain American Legion Post 1623 and later became involved in village politics when he ran for and was elected village Trustee in 1953 which he held for two terms. He then ran for and was elected Mayor of the village in 1958. He served as Trustee and Mayor of Dannemora for 30 years, only to step down when he moved to Altona as Superintendent in 1983. He often said of his involvement in village politics "I just wanted to be a mayor for the people and to make the village a better place", and he was, and he did. He moved back to Dannemora after his retirement from Altona and spent many years enjoying family and friends at their home, their camp at Chazy Lake or their winter home in Florida. Bill remarried in 2009 and moved to Plattsburgh with his wife Marilyn (Mattoon). They spent many happy years with their expanded family both in Plattsburgh and at their winter home in Clearwater, Fla. He will be remembered most for his enduring love of people. He had the unique ability to put people at ease, show that he cared and let them know that things would be ok. This was his gift and he will be missed.
He is survived by his wife Marilyn and their blended family- Bill's four children: PATRICIA (Byron) Wing - Dannemora, NY; their two children Byron (Jennifer) Wing - Saranac, N.Y. and Tricia (David) Sweet-Elmira, N.Y., WILLIAM (Donna) Donahue - Cadyville, N.Y.; their children - William (Sarah)Donahue - Cadyville, N.Y.; Mathew (Dorothy) Donahue-Morrisonville, N.Y., Andrew Donahue-Cadyville, N.Y., Joanne (Richard) Beaudry-Dannemora, N.Y., Eddie (Christina) Tracy-Canton, Mich. THOMAS (Dana) Donahue - Saranac, N.Y.; their two children Shannon (William) Baker- Kuala Lumpor, Malaysia and Kelly (Brad) Coulon - Dannemora, N.Y.; and daughter MARGARET "Peggy"Donahue - Dannemora, N.Y., along with 12 great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by Marilyn's seven children who loved him very much: Lynn (Timothy) Patno - Peru, N.Y.; John D. Mattoon - Saranac, N.Y.; Kathy Furnia-Columbia, S.C.; Brenda (John) Michael-Warsaw, Mo.; Lori Mattoon and partner (Lily)- Valencia, Calif..; Jay Mattoon and partner John-Schenectady, N.Y., and Lisa (John) Jardine-Morrisonville, N.Y., along with many grand, great-grand and great-great-grandchildren.
Calling hours will be from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 26, at the Brown Funeral Home in Plattsburgh. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 27, at St. Joseph's Church in Dannemora, N.Y. Burial will be in the Parish Cemetery at a later date.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of a donation in Bill's name to Dannemora Fire Department or to St. Joseph's Church.
Arrangements are entrusted to Brown Funeral Home, 29 Broad St., Plattsburgh, NY 12901. (518) 561-3980. Online condolences may be offered at www.brownfuneralhomeinc.com.
Published on March 24, 2017
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