Dorothy O’Neill Donahey always preferred to be called “Dottie.”
She was a native Clevelander who attended Gesu School, Beaumont High School and St. Mary’s of The Woods College. Dottie finished her education with a Master’s in Speech Therapy from Columbia University before returning to Cleveland to put her new degree to work. Back home she married the late John D. “Jack” Donahey, Sr (Hunting Valley) and two great Ohio families merged.
Jack was a grandson of three term Ohio Governor and one term Ohio Senator, the late Alvin Victor “Vic” Donahey. Senator Donahey always carried a Buckeye in his pocket for good luck. He shared this love for the Ohio State tree with Dottie and Fall always brought “Buckeye Picking,” a treasured Donahey family event.
Dottie was the oldest daughter of the late William J. O’Neill, Sr (Hunting Valley) and the late Dorothy K. O’Neill (Hunting Valley). At a young age Dottie learned from her parents and grandparents how to join a love of family, philanthropy and helping others around you to create a fulfilling life. Dottie’s grandfather, Hugh O’Neill, donated the first horses to start our local Cleveland Mounted Police Unit and Dottie worked to protect non-profits in Cleveland and cities where family members lived by serving on the Grant Committee and as a Trustee of The William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation.
Dottie and Jack raised four children: J. David Donahey, Jr. (Millbrook, NY); Robert W. "Bob" Donahey (Colleen McCarthy) (Novelty); Susan “Suzy” Dameron (Tayloe Dameron) (Charles City, VA); Kathleen “Katy” Marcus (Dr. Randall Marcus) (Cleveland Heights).
When her two sons attended University School, Dottie chaired the benefit committee for “The Loveliest Night of The Year” and at Hathaway Brown School, where her two daughters attended, Dottie received the volunteer of the year award after turning “The Brown Bag” snack shop and school store into a smashing success with the students as well as the teachers and parents.
Travels with her kids and grandkids made Dottie smile. At every event “Grandmum” would show up to support her grandkids and cheer them on all while being fully decked out in their sports teams’ colors as Will Donahey, Emily Dameron, Blair Marcus, Tayloe Dameron, Megan Donahey and J.D. Donahey can all attest!!!!!!
Diverse interests continued to fill her days: Dottie found the patience to sew individual pheasant feathers together to make hat bands that matched the hair color and eye color of her family, friends and clients through the old Orvis store in Chagrin Falls; serving as President of The Recreation League of Cleveland was a more formal way to get involved in Cleveland activities; and Dottie also adored volunteering at our Cleveland Metro Parks Zoo. She loved helping visitors interact with the exhibits at The Sarah Allison Steffe Zooilogical Hospital and by bagging candy for Boo At The Zoo. To commemorate her happy hours spent at the zoo, Dottie commissioned “Masabu,” a bronze giraffe statue. Masabu is installed near the giraffe barn. Dottie’s intent was to have a sitting giraffe statue so that all visitors, even small children and people in wheelchairs, could take photos and hug a life-like giraffe.
Later in life Dottie taught herself how to design gardens by reading books from the local library. Her love of English Gardens inspired her to build and continue fine tuning a garden of her dreams that surrounds Jack and Dottie’s Home. In 2001 Dottie earned the “Environmental Improvement Award of Distinction” for Cleveland’s Most Distinctive English Garden from The Associated Landscape Contractors of America. Always hunting for something unique or challenging to grow, Dottie loved her: artichokes, ornamental tobacco, caster beans and cranberries. She produced maple syrup from her own trees and grew three types of hops to create “Donahaven Irish Ale.”
Dottie knew first hand the power of Orthopaedic Surgery to improve a person’s quality of life. She was a long term supporter of The Department of Orthopaedics at both University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. She was the lead donor for the Department of Orthopaedic Lerning Center at the hospital and the Orthopaedic Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Medical School.
Please also keep Dottie’s siblings and their spouses in your thoughts: William J. “Bill” O’Neill, Jr. (Kathy); Kathleen “Kathy” France Dunn (Dan); Molly Sweeney (the late George); John O’Neill (Suzy) and Timothy “Tim” O’Neill (Cindy).
In lieu of flowers Dottie would love to share some support with both:
The Cleveland Mounted Police Charitable Trust, 1400 Fifth Third Center, 600 Superior Avenue East, Cleveland, OH 44114-2652 and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine for The Marcus Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-7035
The family will receive friends to celebrate Dottie at The Country Club, 2825 Lander Road, Pepper Pike, OH 44124 on Sunday, October 14th from 4 to 7 p.m.