BROCTON - For some members on the Brocton Board of Education, the news of Arthur Donovan's death came as a shock. Although others had heard, it did not lessen the feeling of loss.
Board members and Superintendent John Hertlein remembered Art best from last year when he received his diploma as part of Operation Recognition, a program which recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans who left school before graduation.
"Art received his diploma in July. It was a tearful ceremony. I am glad we could give him his diploma before he passed away," Hertlein said.
OBSERVER File Photo
In July 2012, then Brocton Board of Education President Thomas DeJoe (left) presented a high school diploma to Arthur Donovan. Donovan, a Korean War Era veteran, received his diploma through Operation Recognition. He passed away on Wednesday.
Board member Thomas DeJoe, who knew Donovan for many years, also remembered the ceremony as being very special to Donovan.
"He was crying, it affected him so deeply. It meant a lot to Artie. You couldn't ask for a nicer guy," he said.
DeJoe said Donovan was the reason he got into being a sports official and remembered the extra time he spent with kids at batting practice and encouraging them to succeed.
"Sometimes he would make a call in a game and someone would run over to try to yell, but they couldn't be mad at him, he was that kind of a person. He loved kids and he was everybody's friend. He will be missed," he said.
Although Donovan was not a member of the board of education, he was very involved in meetings, especially during merger discussions.
He was a member of the Brocton Village Board and was a past member of the Portland Town Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. In addition to being a past sports official, he was also involved in Little League and last year was involved in planning the joint summer recreation program between Brocton and Westfield.
He was also active as a Korean War veteran at the John W. Dill American Legion Post 434 in Brocton, having been commander between 1998 and 2000 and having been especially involved in the flag education program for children.