Lillian Donovan

Obituary of Lillian Donovan

Lillian “Lil” Christina (Washburn) Donovan,89, of Glastonbury, Connecticut, wife of the late Donald William Donovan, passed away peacefully at her home on May 31st, 2017.


Lil was born on October 26, 1927 in Howard, New Brunswick, Canada, to Alexander Christopher and Catherine Grace (Dolan) Washburn. A proud Canadian, Lil was raised on a farm with her nine siblings along the Miramichi River in Blackville, New Brunswick. She worked as a teacher in several New Brunswick schools and as a secretary for the Comptroller General, a position she held for many years. After her marriage to Donald in 1954, she moved to Glastonbury, Connecticut where she resided for the remainder of her life.


Lil was a woman of many talents. She enjoyed the rare distinction of scoring two holes-in-one during her golfing career and continued golfing well into her 80s at Manchester Country Club and Minnechaug Golf Course. She excelled at playing bridge, making quilts, and preparing food for family and friends alike.


A remarkable woman who cared deeply for her family, especially her grandchildren. Lil was known for her sense of humor and wit, which were always balanced by her gentle and kind demeanor. A charismatic woman, Lil attracted numerous friends who delighted her through life and whom she treated with limitless generosity and harmonica serenades. She always put others before herself.


Lil is predeceased by her parents; her husband of 60 years, Donald William Donovan; brothers James, Dennis, John, and Robert; sisters Isabel Washburn, Macrena MacNaughton, Rita Murphy, and Marie Washburn; and brother-in-laws Allan Cook and Stewart MacNaughton.


She is survived by her two daughters, Lori Donovan of Charlestown, South Carolina and Jamie Burton and husband Jesse of Glastonbury, Connecticut; sister Grace Cook of St. John, Newfoundland; grandchildren, Katie DiGiovanni of Somerville, Massachusetts and Craig DiGiovanni and his partner, Glenn Buchberger, of Boston, Massachusetts; sisters-in-law Gladys (Sutherland) Washburn of Renous, New Brunswick, Elizabeth “Betty” (Owens) Washburn, and Monica (Toner) Washburn of Fredericton, New Brunswick; brother-in-law Joseph Murphy of Rocky Hill, Connecticut; her best friend, Marilyn Donzila of Glastonbury, Connecticut; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins in Canada and the United States.


Lil’s family extends sincere thanks to the staff of Hartford HeathCare Hospice and Stay at Home-Care LLC for all their help and support in Lil’s final months. To honor Lil’s request, there will be no calling hours. Private services are being held for the family at 10AM on Saturday, June 3rd, at Mulryan Funeral Home followed by burial at Saint James Cemetery in Manchester, Connecticut. Anyone who wishes to donate in Lil’s honor may do so to the organization of his or her choice. For online condolences please visit