Charles Anthony Donovan, Jr.—known to his many loved ones as “Charlie,” “Chaz,” or “O’Dell”—passed away on March 26, 2022, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was 28 years old. Charlie leaves behind an enormous Irish Catholic family with over two dozen aunts and uncles, more than fifty cousins, and five beloved nieces and nephews. It would take many pages to list all the people who loved him, but among them were his parents Margaret and Charles, Sr., his sister Maria and brother-in-law Chris, his sister Bernadette and brother-in-law Matthew, and his brother Dominic and sister-in-law Callie.
Charlie had an unforgettable presence. He was tall and preternaturally strong, but you usually heard him coming even before you saw him. Charlie believed that if something was worth saying, it was worth booming. With his deep voice, Charlie announced his presence by hollering a hello or launching into a story the moment he walked into a room. Charlie was also a man of unshakeable convictions and great passion. Whatever the topic—and there were many he cared about—Charlie brought his idealism and strong sense of justice to the conversation. His unwavering and energetic opinions were fueled by a thoughtful mind, a giant heart, and a seemingly impossible amount of Mountain Dew Baja Blast.
Nothing was more important to Charlie than loyalty. Charlie was loyal to his family, friends, the Ottawa Senators, the L.A. Kings, Ryan Fitzpatrick (“Fitzmagic”), Taco Bell, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Cleveland Browns, his beloved beagle Chewy, and innumerable other teams, causes, and people. Charlie loved an underdog. Each of his seemingly contradictory sports loyalties was based on his affection for a particular player or team he viewed as destined to suffer an injury or loss. It was best when these teams turned into winners, but Charlie’s commitment was steadfast either way. For example, he stood in the frigid cold of Cleveland’s 0-16 parade to protest a particularly miserable season, happy to share in the collective frustration of a community of beleaguered Browns fans.
Charlie’s commitment to the underdog extended to politics, where he advocated for those he felt were the most hopeless. Charlie was a champion of the unborn, prisoners, those suffering from mental illness, and those affected by war and violence. He loved the written word, and often published opinion pieces to share his views. His passion was matched only by his pacifism and his desire to see less pain in the world. Charlie called on all of us to value human life everywhere, and we will always treasure his.
The Donovans invite you to attend Charlie’s visitation Thursday, March 31, from 5–8 PM at the Vitt, Stermer, & Anderson Funeral Home, 4619 Delhi Rd., and his funeral mass Friday, April 1, at 10 AM at St. Dominic Church, 4551 Delhi Rd. After Charlie’s burial, please join the family for a reception at the church. In lieu of flowers, Charlie would have loved donations to be made in his honor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org).
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