I had worked with Lt. Col. Tim Donovan while writing speeches for Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1998. Thank God for Colonel Tim, I didn’t have to write TGT’s military speeches. Tim was the master.
Tim Donovan was an excellent writer and a stand-up guy. He coordinated several of the gubernatorial swearing-in ceremonies. Always friendly colleagues, we became friends only within the past 12 months when he agreed to join our monthly burger lunches. This summer, he took us out aboard his spacious deck boat for a cruise across Lake Mendota.
He begged off October’s hamburger lunch at the Oakcrest Tavern because he had to catch up on work at the VA Hospital, to our eternal regret. He worked there after retiring from the National Guard. On the morning of October 31, he suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while getting dressed for work and never regained consciousness. Doctors said there was no way to revive him. He passed away January 19 in hospice care. He was only 65.
Tim had a deliciously wicked sense of humor and was a master at PhotoShop. I began running his “Donovan Files” parodies at my old blog at InBusiness. (Here’s an example.) He topped himself by photoshopping a selfie I took after running down my idol, Charles Krauthammer, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July. (Shown at right) Suffice to say, the nationally known pundit never wore the cap depicted here.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did what I should have done a week ago. Col. Tim’s passing merits a news story. Theirs begins:
Lt. Col. Tim Donovan was the face and voice of the Wisconsin National Guard for years.
Shortly after planes slammed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, Donovan and the acting adjutant general went to the Capitol to advise Gov. Scott McCallum and direct the state’s response to the attack.
When thousands of guardsmen were deployed, it was Donovan who announced the news. And when Wisconsinites were killed in war zones, often it was Donovan working behind the scenes to help families of the fallen through the most difficult time of their lives.
Tim was posted to places like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia in between domestic posts. The family has not yet posted an official obituary. The funeral is Saturday, March 11 at Ryan Funeral Home, 2418 N. Sherman Ave., Madison. It will be well attended. In the meantime, post your thoughts on his Facebook page.