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1491 Main Street
(563) 582-3297
Dubuque, IA 52001
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Memories & Candles

“Deb, sincere sympathy for the loss of your mother. She certainly lived a full life leaving many children to share her memories. ”
1 of 11 | Posted by: Joan Primasing - Dubuque, IA

“Just wanted to express my sympathy for the Donovan extended family.For a house that large ,to have a place at their table for an extra mouthon many...Read More »
2 of 11 | Posted by: Tim Gaherty - Dubuque, IA

“So sorry for your loss of this beautiful lady. ”
3 of 11 | Posted by: carolyn. weidner - kirkersville, OH

“The Beschen family is a powerful force in the world for vision and good. Attributable in great part to Gram and her kids, Doris and her siblings and...Read More »
4 of 11 | Posted by: Darrell 'Buck' Beschen - VA

“Warm condolences from Nancy and I to the entire Donovan family, but also expressing warm feelings and happy memories in celebration of a life well...Read More »
5 of 11 | Posted by: CJ Pape - Dubuque, IA - Friend

“Dear Mike, Becky and family,Deepest sympathy in the passing of your Mother. She sounds like a truly remarkable woman. Prayers are with you all. ...Read More »
6 of 11 | Posted by: Kathleen Hotchkin - Dubuque, IA

“Our prayers are with your family. ”
7 of 11 | Posted by: Beth and Dan Reilly - Clover, SC

“My Dear Donovan Family, Please accept my condolences and prayers , at this sad time. Your Mother was a perfect example of a life well lived. God...Read More »
8 of 11 | Posted by: Janet Wareham - Sarasota, FL

“Our most heartfelt sympathy to all the Donovan family. May your beautiful Mom Rest In Peace. God bless, Johnny & Jen ”
9 of 11 | Posted by: Johnny & Jen Leibold - Sarasota, FL

“Please accept our deepest sympathy. Doris has left a beautiful legacy. Hugs to all. ”
10 of 11 | Posted by: Deb & Gary Droessler - Potosi, WI

“RIP Divine Mercy. My condolences Good woman! ”
11 of 11 | Posted by: Carole Carpenter - Dubuque, IA


Heart Emblem

Doris V. Donovan, age 98, of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 8:48 p.m., on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Bethany Home, surrounded by her loving family. To honor Doris' life, funeral services will be held at 12:00 noon, on Thursday, April 20, 2017, at the Church of the Nativity, 1225 Alta Vista Street, with Msgr. James L. Miller officiating. The Nativity Rosary Society will pray the rosary prior to the services at the church. To celebrate Doris' life, family and friends may visit from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., on Thursday, April 20, 2017, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Doris Donovan had reached the age of 98 with a life filled with faith and love. In Flandreau, Moody County, South Dakota, where Iowa and South Dakota meet, Doris was born on October 4, 1918, to Nick and Emma (Dunne) Bechen. The mustard seed of her youth began when drought and the edge of the Dustbowl drained the life out of the land and her father was forced to sell everything and move to Iowa in 1928. The mustard tree continued to grow when she met Gerald Donovan, the love of her life, and started a family of 12 children. The most appropriate word to describe our mother would be "home". The branches of her life gave her children a place to return from the sometimes turbulence of youth. Her children knew she was always there for them. They knew on Sunday there would be baked chicken and baked potatoes when they returned from Mass. They knew her faith in the Blessed Mother carried her through the myriad of problems raising 12 children. They knew birthdays, graduations and especially liturgical events would be celebrated. Like the mustard tree of the scriptures, her branches provided shade and rest for her family. She made a house a home. Recently she was asked what it was like to raise such a huge family and her face glowed. She said, "I loved it".

Those left to cherish Doris memory include

her 11 children,
David (Ann) Donovan, Dubuque, IA,
Jan Smith, Dubuque, IA,
Michael (Becky) Donovan, Rock Hill, SC,
Mary Jo Weiland, Dubuque, IA,
Judy Hoffmann, Dubuque, IA,
Kim (A.J.) Becker, East Dubuque, IL,
Chris (Pat) Murphy, Dubuque, IA,
Dennis Donovan, Dubuque, IA,
Deb (Ted) Beaves, Dubuque, IA,
Kevin (Missy) Donovan, Dubuque, IA
and Kelly (Jerry) Lazore, Galena, IL;

33 grandchildren;

56 great-grandchildren;

7 great great-grandchildren;

a sister,
Dotty McWhorter, Alexandria, LA;

2 sisters-in-law,
Kathleen Kane, Dubuque, IA
and Jean Bechen, Melbourne, FL;

and a daughter-in-law,
Sonnie (Bob) Karr, Zanesville, OH.

Doris was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Gerald Donovan; a son, James Donovan; a great-granddaugher, Hailie Weiland; 3 sons-in-law, Herbert Hoffmann, Ron Smith and Jim Weiland; 2 sisters, Delight Pederson and Darlene (Sandy) Sanderson; and 4 brothers, Sam, Delbert, Tuffy and Darrell Bechen.

A Doris V. Donovan memorial fund has been established, which will be distributed among her favorite charities.

Doris' family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the nurses and staff at Bethany Home, and Hospice of Dubuque, for their exceptional, kind, and loving care of Doris and her family.