Colonel Timothy H. Donovan Jr., Retired U.S. Army, passed away peacefully on January 21, 2023, at the age of 82. A veteran of the Vietnam War and Cold War, he proudly served for nearly 31 years in the U.S. Army. Tim was a highly decorated officer who was awarded medals for Valor and Service: the Silver Star, 2 Legions of Merit Awards, 2 Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, 2 Army Commendation Medals, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with 4 Palms and another Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
Tim was born in 1940 in Bristol, CT to Timothy and Mary Moody Donovan. His father, uncles, and brother proudly served in both World Wars. Tim graduated from Norwich University in 1962, and left for Fort Knox, KY for the Armor Officer Basic Course. Upon graduating, he was assigned to 1-32 Armor in Friedberg, Germany. He married Jacquelyn Carter in 1963 and quickly brought his new bride to Germany, where she acclimated quickly to being a Military Wife. Jackie was the love of his life, and Tim was often overheard saying, “He couldn’t have done it without her.”
Tim was deployed for the first time to Vietnam in 1966 as a 1st Lieutenant, assigned to the 5th US Special Forces as a Team Leader with the Montagnard Strike Force in the Central Highlands. Upon his return, he was stationed at Fort Mead, MD with the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment as a Troop Commander. His Regiment was activated to protect the National Capital Region following Martin Luther King’s death and the subsequent riots. Tim returned to Vietnam in 1969 as Commander of C Troop, 1st Squadron, 10th US Calvary. On November 1, 1969, Tim was severely wounded in combat with North Vietnamese Army troops near the la Drang Valley sustaining an injury to his spinal cord that left him paralyzed. Through perseverance and determination, he gained enough strength to be able to leave the hospital. In 1972, Tim received his Master’s Degree in History from Rice University and became a Professor of Military History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY from 1973-1976.
In 1976, Tim returned to 1-32 Armor Battalion in Friedberg, Germany serving as the Battalion S-3 (Operations) and Executive Officer. Afterwards, Tim took Command of 3-64 Armor Battalion in Schweinfurt, Germany. Tim and Jackie returned to the Washington, DC area where he served as the US Army Chief of Armor Branch, Army Staff, and the Joint Staff followed by graduation from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces; a National Defense University. In 1984, COL Donovan returned to Germany as the M1A1 Tank and M2/3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Fielding Chief in Vilseck, Germany. His final tour of duty was at Norwich University where he served as the Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science. COL Donovan enjoyed his time with the students and referred to them as “His Kids.” Upon his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1993, he went to work for more than ten years at Electronic Warfare Associates in Herndon, VA.
Tim enjoyed fly fishing, hunting, traveling, especially to Maine, and sharing his love of history. He offered lectures on Civil War history in the Shenandoah Valley where he and Jackie spent their retirement at Lake Frederick, VA. Tim continued to actively serve Norwich University as Vice President of the Alumni Association Board, President Emeritus of the Board of Fellows, and President of the Friends of Kreitzberg Library – always striving to give back to the school he so dearly loved!
Tim is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Jackie; children Kristen Donovan; LTC (Ret) Michael Donovan; and Kimberly (Steve) Trischman; and his five grandchildren Kilian, Patrick, and Alexander Donovan; Liam and Kaleigh Trischman; numerous nieces and nephews, and his cat Mosby “The Gray Ghost”. He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Anne Cappiello; and brothers, Robert and Bill Donovan.
A viewing will take place at Omps Funeral Home, South Chapel in Winchester, VA on February 2nd from 6-8 pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Bridget of Ireland Catholic Church in Berryville, VA on February 3rd at 10am followed by a Celebration of Life at the Regent 117. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on a date TBA.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider a donation in Tim’s honor to either the Disabled American Veterans or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.