2013-09-19 / Obituaries

Francis Ignatius Donohoe

Francis Ignatius Donohoe was born in San Francisco on Dec. 18, 1922. He passed away on July 18, 2013.

Francis was the third of six children born to George and Catherine (Kitty) Donohoe.

Whether he was proving himself king of the playground turf at his primary school, just daring anyone to dethrone him, or holding his own six-year-old, allnight vigil when Knute Rockne died, Francis’ ebullient spirit burned fiercely.

He spent the first 16 years of his life in San Francisco and Marin County. He attended Star of the Sea Elementary School and graduated from St. Ignatius High School.

In the summer of his 16th year, Francis went to work for the pioneer Degnan family of Yosemite Valley. There he fell in love with their youngest grandchild, Helene Angela (Nell), his wife to be. For the next two summers Francis returned to work for the Degnans.

In the fall of 1940, Francis began his college education at the University of San Francisco. However, the siren call to arms lured him away from his educational pursuits. He enlisted in the Marine Corp and was sent to Quantico, Va. for training and then on to the Pacific Theater. Francis went on to serve in the Marines during the Korean War and was awarded the Bronze Star for “displaying outstanding skill, courage and confidence while serving as a mortar commander.”

Francis was accepted to the USF law school and looked forward to using his strong oratorical skills in the field of law. However, life had other plans. At the bequest of his beloved father-in-law, John Degnan M.D. he agreed to return to Yosemite to help Mary Ellen Degnan run the business until a suitable manager could be found. Francis spent the next 24 years managing the Degnan family business in Yosemite.

Francis is survived by his sons, Peter, John and wife Loretta, Matthew and wife Ceri, and Joseph, and by his daughters Mary Ellen and husband Patrick Stuart, Moira and husband Ron Hamann, and Kitty and husband Homi Hormasji, and by his grandchildren Rory Stuart and wife Meredith, Molly Stuart, Tim Donohoe, Sean Donohoe and wife Alexia, Patrick and Frannie Donohoe, Willie and Sophie Hamann, and stepgranddaughter Kristin Hamann Parnaby and husband Gavin Parnaby. Francis is also survived by three great-grandsons, Jackson, Brennan, and Orion Stuart.

Francis is buried next to his beloved Nell in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Mariposa. A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.

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