Official statement from Superintendent Dr. Brad Jackson on the passing of Coach Mark Donovan
It is with profound sadness that I share about the passing of Mark Donovan “Dunnie,” beloved Head Coach of Shawsheen’s Varsity Wrestling team and long-time member of the Shawsheen’s Dean of Students’ Office. Mark passed away on Sunday, October 10, 2021, at home with his loving family at his side, following a heroic and hard-fought battle with cancer.
Throughout his 30-plus years at Shawsheen, Mark touched the lives of thousands of students, serving as a role model for many who needed a strong male presence in their lives. Mark was a fierce supporter for those who he identified as needing someone in their corner. As a colleague, Mark was adored as someone who was always eager to help a friend in need or who, despite his tough exterior, always offered kind words of encouragement.
Mark Donovan was the soul of Shawsheen – he was loved and respected by all who knew him. His loss has, and will continue to be, felt deeply and personally by the adults and students at Shawsheen.
Today, we had the NEMLEC/STARS team present to assist with grief counseling and had extra substitutes on hand to relieve staff from teaching when needed. The strength and look of normalcy that our staff has projected to our students today, was nothing short of amazing. The collective work and efforts of the Shawsheen community have remained student-focused, and I appreciate how difficult and challenging these past few days have been for everyone in our school building.
Mark’s funeral is scheduled for 11:30 AM at St. Williams’ Church, 1351 Main Street in Tewksbury. Due to the large number of staff members who have indicated that they want to honor Mark and attend his funeral, I have made Friday October 15th a half-day; students will be dismissed at 10:43 AM.
I’m so incredibly grateful that our students and staff had the opportunity to reap the enormous benefits of having Dunnie in their lives. People like Mark don’t come along very often, and all of Shawsheen Tech, its students and its staff, were blessed to be able to know him, admire him, learn from him, and love him. The RamFam lost a giant, but gained an angel who will continue to teach us, encourage us, and guide us along life’s path.
The Shawsheen Community sends its sincere condolences to the Donovan Family, and to all those mourning his loss.
Rest in peace, Coach; know that your memory and legacy will endure in your family, the friends you’ve loved, and the students you’ve mentored.