Published 10:15 am, Thursday, April 28, 2011
Mollie Donovan, a volunteer for Westport arts and preservation causes, an advertising executive, and a medical and technical writer, died April 27.
She was born Ines Amalia Morra on July 11, 1926, in Hamden.
She was co-chairwoman of the Westport Historical Society's Exhibit and Programs Committee; curator of the Westport schools' permanent art collection, and a committee member of the WPA Art Rescue that restored 32 artworks from the WPA Arts Project.
She was recently honored as "Volunteer of the Decade" by the Westport Historical Society for her three decades of contributions that included her role in the acquisition of Wheeler House in 1980; development of the Heritage Tree; participation in the historical society's book and video projects, as well 50 exhibits she produced at the society. She was listed in Westport magazine's Collector's Edition as one of 40 "People Who Created a Lasting Legacy" in Westport's history.
The Westport Historical Society's Mollie Award was established in her honor in 2009, and it is bestowed upon a society volunteer annually.
She also received the YMCA's 8th annual Faces of Achievement Tribute for support of the arts as well as the Governor's Art Award for her commitment to the Westport schools permanent art collection.
She also was a gardener, homemaker, cook and furniture restorer and refinisher.
Before she became a mother, she was the first woman hired as a draftsman at General Electric during World War II. She was employed at Safety Industries as a draftsman and later as the corporate advertising director for the company's five divisions.
Survivors include her husband of 55 years, John J. Donovan; her children, David of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Eve of Albany, Calif., Maura Paulik of Fairfield and Daniel Donovan of Westport; daughters-in-law, Sherry Donovan and Nicole Donovan; son-in-law David Paulik; 12 grandchildren, Hollis and Harper Donovan; Skylar, Avery, Kendyl and Camryn Paulik, Meghan, Haleigh, Eliza, John, Lydia and Patrick Donovan; two sisters, Eve Potts of Essex and Marion Morra of Milford; four nieces and nephews; five grand-nieces, and two grand-nephews. She was predceased by a son, Douglas.
A celebration of her life will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 1, at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT 06880; the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, c/o Nancy Harris, Westport Public Schools, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880, or the Douglas Donovan Scholarship Fund, c/o Staples Tuition Grants, P.O. Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881-5159.