James Donovan

Obituary of James Lester Donovan

James L. Donovan, a lifelong resident of Rhode Island, passed away on October 2nd, 2020, in Woonsocket at the age of 77. Jim battled dementia, Parkinson’s disease for the last several years, and, more recently, lung cancer. James was born in Providence on May 15th, 1943. He attended North Providence High School, served in the Air Force, then settled in Johnston, where he lovingly raised his family and resided for 48 years. After having learned valuable welding skills in the service and working in the tool and die industry, Jim pioneered a new technology that he titled Microscopic Precision Tool Welding. He was the first person to weld under a microscope. He and his then-wife, Carolyn, started Advance Welding Service, Inc. in 1977. Clients from all over the U.S. and Canada respected him and relied on his expertise to repair their tools, dies, and molds for the plastics, jewelry, and medical industries. He also performed research for the space station’s heat exchange unit, contributed writings on his process to the trade, and repaired wheelchairs and canes pro bono for those in need. Jim enjoyed spending time with his family going on day trips, vacations, art festivals, and spending time in nature. Some of his interests over the years included slot car racing, fishing, riding his motorcycles, photography, calligraphy, spending countless hours on Apple’s first personal computers and beyond, and was involved with The Small Business Development Center at Bryant University. He enjoyed a filet mignon with sauteed onions, buttered popcorn, and ice cream sundaes. He was a brilliant man who greatly admired the wisdom of Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Nikola Tesla. James was predeceased by his father Arthur Donovan and mother, Marguerite (Stafford) Donovan, brother Arthur ‘Bud’ Donovan, sisters Marguerite ‘Rita’ Blondell, and Dorothy ‘Dottie’ Bailey. He is survived by sister Elaine Miller, daughters Adriann (Donovan) Valiquette, Robin Donovan, son James A. Donovan, daughter in law Kristen Donovan, grandchildren Luc and Sidney Valiquette, Christopher and Charlie Cox, Zoe Donovan, and numerous nieces and nephews. Funeral service will be held at Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter on October 17th with his family members. Mount Pleasant Funeral Home will be handling the arrangements. Donations can be made in his honor to the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, www.teslasciencecenter.org, (631) 886-2632.
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