Francis Donegan, 93, Jamestown, North Dakota, died Tuesday August 12, 2014 at Ave Maria Village, Jamestown.
Francis John Donegan was born January 24, 1921 in Plankinton, South Dakota. He was the third oldest of the ten children of Marie (Dunn) and James Donegan. He moved with his family to Edgeley, North Dakota in 1932 and Jamestown in 1940 where he graduated from St. Johns Academy. He started working for the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1941 and joined the Army in 1942 where he served in the Middle East Theater with the 730th Engineer Brigade until 1945.
Upon his return from the service he resumed working for the Railroad and married Rita Dailey from New Rockford in 1946. They had met just prior to his enlistment and settled in Jamestown where they became active members of the St. James Basilica parish- something that would be the focus of the rest of their lives. Francis was a member of the Railroad Locomotive Engineers, Eagles, Knights of Columbus, and Veteran of Foreign Wars. He was active in the local Golden Gloves program where he shared the love of boxing that he developed while in the Army. He was the Welter Weight Champion of the Middle East Theater and was invited to box at the King of Irans birthday celebration.
Along with the Church and family, the railroad played a central role in his life. He was promoted to Engineer in 1946, initially operating steam locomotives between Jamestown and Mandan. The unpredictable timetable of railroading life dictated the schedule of his life. He was particularly proud of his work with rotary snow plows in the Dakota winters and his role in operating the first diesel locomotive that crossed North Dakota.
Francis was a consummate carpenter, rehabbing the home that he and Rita shared on 5th Street Southeast for more than 60 years. Over the years he remodeled a number of homes around Jamestown and was often helping others on home repair projects. Besides woodworking, he enjoyed wood carving, fishing, hunting, golfing and bowling. Both he and Rita enjoyed entertaining friends and family with formal meals as well as sitting around the patio fire pit among his ferns that he nurtured over the years.
Survivors include: son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Katie Donegan; daughters, Peggy Clark and Mary Donegan; five grandchildren, Brianna Farra (Charlie Farra), Megan Donegan, Kara Clark (Miles Smith), Brian Goldstein, and Daniel Goldstein; sister, Percy Gillman; brother, Victor Donegan; brother-in-law, Leonard Richards; and sister-in-law, Audrey Donegan.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Marie; his wife, Rita; brothers, James Donegan, Bob Donegan and Don Donegan; sisters, Mary Exner, Patty McCommon, Dorothy Donegan, and Janice Richards; and son-in-law, Al Clark.
Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 19, 20914 at St. James Basilica, Jamestown, ND.
Visitation: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, August 18, 2014 at the Williams-Lisko Funeral Chapel, Jamestown, ND. The casket will be closed at the services.
Vigil: 7:00 p.m. Monday, August 18, 2014 at Good Shepherd Chapel, Ave Maria Village, Jamestown.
Internment: 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan, North Dakota.