DAVENPORT, FLA. — John Robert (Bob) Donoghue Sr. of Davenport, Fla., passed away peacefully at home, on May 7, 2013, with his beloved wife by his side. He was born in Watertown, N.Y., on June 24, 1931, to his loving parents, the late Raymond L. and Mary (Carroll) Donoghue.
Bob attended grade and high school in Watertown. After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Korean War. He was given the name "Chip" by his Marine buddies.
He joined the N.Y. State Police (Troop B) in 1953. His service was cut short due to an unforeseen accident on the job, forcing him into early retirement in 1965.
Bob was not one to stay down. He went back to school, earning an associate's degree in hotel and restaurant management from Paul Smith's College in Saranac Lake, N.Y. From there, he went to work for a famous mouse at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Bob held two positions while at Disney. He was Supervisor of Operations of Central Foods Processing; and, occasionally, dressed up as the character, Goofy.
Missing the law enforcement field, Bob started his own business and became a licensed private investigator. Another opportunity arose; Bob tested and joined the ranks of becoming a licensed polygraph examiner. Bob and his wife Ann also owned their own business. They enjoyed traveling around the country, stopping off to sell their merchandise at the local flea markets and making many new friends along the way.
Bob was a proud member of the Association of Former New York State Troopers, a member of Toastmasters International, St. Ann Catholic Church in Haines City, Fla., and The Clowns of America.
Bob's passion was to be around family whenever possible. Coming from a large family, it wasn't always possible to be together with everyone. That never stopped Bob from encouraging members of his family, both young and old, to stay in contact with one another. Bob's wonderful trait has been carried down by his own children. Many other relatives credit Bob for their families remaining so close throughout the years.
Bob had a great passion for singing. For many years he belonged to the Barbershop Harmony Society, starting in the Northeast Chapter in Upstate N.Y., joining other Chapters throughout his travels. The last time you could hear Bob sing was on February 14, 2013, when he joined in singing "Heart of My Heart" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," with the Sentimental Journeymen of the Winter Haven Florida Chapter, BHS.
While searching for a seamstress to make a clown outfit for himself; through mutual friends, Bob met his bride, Ann. Hence; KOKO the Clown was born. Together, Bob and Ann joined the "Clowns of America," bringing many smiles to young and old, throughout the United States, England and Ireland. Bob and Ann's favorites were teaming up with the Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa, Fla., the Special Olympics in Orlando, and visiting miscellaneous hospitals and Nursing Homes throughout the country to spread their love and bring about millions of smiles. Bob even took part in a television commercial with the Special Olympics. Bob and Ann's favorite song and their wedding song (1985) was "Send in the Clowns".
There was still a lot of pent-up passion built up inside of Bob that clowning just didn't seem to fulfill. Ann, being a seamstress, whipped up Mr. and Mrs. (Bob) Santa Claus outfits. Together, once again, they volunteered at several hospitals, nursing homes, private businesses and parties; bringing love, happiness and presents to all. Those smiles are irreplaceable.
Bob was preceded in death by his former wife, June C. (Donoghue) Squires and their first born child Debbie Jane Donoghue; his parents, the late Raymond L. and Mary (Carroll) Donoghue; brothers, Charles, Dennis, Leo and Raymond Donoghue; sister-in-law, Patricia Donoghue; and a step-granddaughter, Jennifer Johnson.
Bob is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Ann (Curry) Donoghue; his children with his former wife, John R. Donoghue Jr. and his wife (Karen), and their son Shayne Donoghue of Plattsburgh, (Arnie) and Beth Pavone, and their children, Bryan and Nicole and her husband (Collin) of Incline Village, Nev., Kevin and (Jennifer) Donoghue, and their children, Kyle and Makensie of Peru, N.Y., (Tom) and Betty Donoghue of Henderson, Nev., and children, John Roberts and his wife Kysa, and their daughter Ava of Peru, and Christina Donoghue and her fiance' Bruce Newman, and their daughter Aliyah of Henderson; stepdaughters, Sheryl MacDougal of Stuart, Fla., and her children, Tammy Kelly, Lila Kelly, Lauren and Heidi Birchmeyer, (Gene) and Cary Palmer of Miami Lakes, Fla., and their son Charles, and Shirlee Johnson of Orlando. Bob has seven grandchildren, two great-granddaughters, 10 stepgrandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren. Bob is survived by three brothers, Philip and (Janis) Donoghue of Syracuse, Bernard Donoghue of North Carolina, and David Donoghue of Connecticut; and sisters-in-law, Chris, Beatrice, Rae Ann and Bonnie Donoghue of deceased brothers. He also has many special relatives, nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends (both young and old) that survive him.
Bob's family would like to thank the caring staff of the Daisy Team of Hospice, especially Joan and Denise, Marla and her team of the Helping Hands of Lakeland, Fla., and Dr. Syed Ahmed and staff of Davenport, Fla. A special "thank you" to Scott and Kathy Shearer of Belle Isle, Fla., for all of their assistance, guidance, friendship and sharing of their love of our father.
Burial will be private at a later date, with military honors at United States National Cemetery in Sumter County, Fla. Your thoughts and prayers are welcome!
Memorial donations may be made in Bob's honor to Special Olympics Chapter of Central Florida, 1133 19th Street NW, Washington, D.C. (20036specialolympics.org), Shriners Hospitals for Children, 12502 USF Pine Dr., Tampa, FL 33612-9411 (shrinershospitalsforchildren.org), and/or Sisters of the Precious Blood (sisterspreciousblood.org), 400 Pratt St., Watertown, NY 13601-4238.