Peter A. Donovan

  • Born: November 30, 1935
  • Died: February 25, 2017
  • Location: Barnstablele, Massachusetts

Joyce Funeral Home

245 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02453
Tel. (781) 894-2895

Tribute & Message From The Family

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Peter by adding your memories and photos.

Barnstable – Mr. Peter A. Donovan, formerly of Newton, died on Saturday, February 25, 2017 after long standing health issues. He was 81.

Peter's death is mourned by his wife of fifty-five years, Eleanor (Dill) Donovan; his son, Mark, daughter-in-law, Kristen (Holt), his grandchildren, Kathryn, John, and Emma. He is also survived by his brother, Walter of Marlborough and other friends and family.

Peter was born in Boston a son of the late Walter and Kathryn (Breen) Donovan. Raised in Belmont he graduated from St. Mary's High School in Waltham. He earned degrees from Boston College, Boston College Law School, Georgetown University Law School and Harvard Law School. As a student at Boston College Law School, he was editor-in-chief of Volume One, Number One of the Boston College Industrial and Commercial Law Review, member of the Order of the Coif, and graduated first in the class of 1960.

He was selected as an Honor Recruit in the United States Department of Justice where he became a trial attorney in the Anti-Trust Division. After three years, he received a Ford Foundation Grant to become a Fellow in Law Teaching at Harvard Law School. He began his teaching career at the University of Connecticut Law School and then returned to Boston College Law School where he taught from 1966 to 2002. He was the youngest faculty member to receive tenure status. He loved his life as a teacher and as faculty adviser to the international and national moot court teams. He was a visiting professor at L'Universite de Paris and at the East China Institute of Politics and Law in Shanghai. He published frequently in various law journals.

The Boston College Law School Alumni Association honored him in 1998 by awarding him their Special Service Award. Recently, the Class of 1981 paid tribute to him at their thirty-fifth reunion. Upon his retirement he became an enthusiastic artist, a panelist on a local cable show, "Talking Together,' and a member of a weekly sports' discussion group, Talking Sports. Throughout his life, he was a season ticket holder and avid fan of Boston College football, basketball, and hockey teams.

Family and friends will honor and remember Peter's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Friday, March 3rd from 4 to 8 p.m. The funeral will be held on Saturday, March 4th in Trinity Chapel on the campus of Boston College Law School, 885 Centre Street, Newton where his Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Burial is private.

Gifts in memory of Professor Peter Donovan may be made to Boston College Law School in support of the oral advocacy programs that were so dear to his heart. Donations may be mailed to Christine Kelly, Director Alumni Relations, Cadigan Alumni Center, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I was very sorry to see that Peter has died. I grew up on White St. in Belmont and as a child spent many hours playing in Pequossette Field, where pick up games were always happening. Peter, Walter and my brother Richard and sister Grace would all hang out together with the rest of the neighborhood children. When Grace attended Law School at BC she had Peter as a teacher and told me that he was the best one there! Grace has since died. My sincere condolences to all of the family. I will remember Peter in my prayers. Sincerely, Helen (Stevens) Ahearn

Posted by Helen (Stevens) Ahearn - Falmouth, MA - Friend   March 06, 2017

I always enjoyed painting with Peter at the Cape Cod art Association. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss.

Posted by Susan McLean - Osterville, MA - Friend   March 03, 2017

I am very sorry to hear of Professor Donovan's passing. He was a wonderful teacher, and highly motivating - you would be well suited to not walk into his class unless you had done the reading, and if you did, you were quaking in your boots hoping you would not be called on! But he was also very caring, and quite obviously took great joy in teaching and getting to know his students. He will be greatly missed.

Melissa Hegger Shea
BCLS 1999

Posted by Melissa (Hegger) Shea - Waltham, MA - Student   March 03, 2017

Mrs. Donovan, Mark and Kristen
Deepest sympathies from the Ryan family. I always enjoyed seeing Mr. Donovan at the football and basketball games so many years after we graduated.

Posted by Chris Ryan - Braintree, MA   March 02, 2017

Peter's death is a tremendous loss to his immediate family, his wife, son, daughter in law and grand-children.It is also a tremendous loss to another family of his, Boston College Law alumni and the Boston College community. Needless to say, he will be missed. Personally, I can say that whatever success I have achieved since graduation from the law school in 1970 is due in large part to what I learned from Peter. It was like sitting at the foot of Socrates.

Mike Hutter
BC Law 1970

Posted by Michael Hutter - Albany, NY   March 02, 2017

As a former attorney, judge and member of Peter's Talking Sports group, I came to truly admire his vast knowledge and passion for the law, for sports and for life. In the recent past I had the privilege of accompanying Peter to BC hockey and football games and seeing his love of sports (and particularly BC) firsthand. Though I got to know Peter only in the last 7 years of his life, his friendship was something I will always cherish. Peter, you will truly be missed!!

Posted by Brian Friedman - East Sandwich, MA - Friend   March 01, 2017

I'm very sorry for your loss. I am a family friend of the Scrivener's from CT and I was fortunate to work in the law school while I attended BC. Prof. Donovan would always stop into the office to say hello and chat. He was a wonderful man. Sending thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Posted by Colleen Borger O'Connor    March 01, 2017

Our sincere condolences to Peter's family and to his "other family" the Scriveners. I know he was a wonderful friend to my brother, Carl and his wife and a loved and revered person to the Scrivener children.

Posted by Carol+Tom Chapman - Duxbury, MA   March 01, 2017

I have such fond memories of Professor Donovan from Boston College Law School. My classmates from 1985 and many years of BC Law classes were lucky to have him. I'm so very sorry for your loss; he was a tremendous man.
Jennifer (Jorgensen) Dempsey

Posted by Jennifer Dempsey - Mansfield, MA - Student   March 01, 2017

To the Donovan Family

Please accept my deepest sympathies. You are in my thoughts and prayers


Michael Sullivan
BCLS 1985

Posted by Michael Sullivan - Cambridge, MA   March 01, 2017

Family Album

Life Stories

In the B. C. Law School Class of 1960, Peter was my classmate, mentor, competitor, humorist and friend. At this point in life, those memories sustain us. I am so very proud to have had Peter as a part of my life. I would be even prouder if he didn't have the facial hair.