CASA GRANDE — Julie Anne Donovan, 79, died on Dec. 31, 2020, after coping with aphasia dementia (word-finding dementia) for several years, peacefully at her winter home in Casa Grande with her loving husband, children and grandchildren.
Mrs. Donovan was born on Jan. 31, 1941, in Lansing, Michigan, a daughter of Norum Altric and Rena Lucy (Myers) Ruonavaara, who preceded her in death in 1993 and 2006, respectively. She had a warm personality that endeared her to many people. She had wonderful gifts of hospitality and generosity that coupled well with her sharp mind and fun sense of humor. She was also a calming and steady presence to those in need of her strength.
She was a graduate of Eastern High School in Lansing and went on to Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech and language pathology and was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She taught elementary, middle and high school speech and language for over 30 years in Michigan and California. During that time she also completed a master’s degree in speech and language at Wayne State University in Detroit.
On Dec. 26, 1964, she married the love of her life, John Thomas Donovan, and they enjoyed 56 wonderful, joy-filled years together. She was a member of many Lutheran churches throughout her life, a youth group leader, singer in the choirs and was most recently a member of Central Lutheran Church in Casa Grande. She loved to travel and explore new places as well as spend time at Happiness is…, her summer home on Milakokia Lake, Michigan, with all her family and friends.
She was preceded in death by a sister, Joanie Marie Haut. Surviving are her husband; a brother, Jerry Ruonavaara of Spring, Texas; a daughter, Rena Marie Dombrowski of Boulder City, Nevada; a son, Timothy John Donovan of Traverse City, Michigan; and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in Michigan during the summer.
Donations may be made to: Central Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 677, Arizona City, AZ 85123 or to a church or charity organization of the donor's choice.