JA Snow Funeral Home


Brian (Ed) Donovan

March 18, 1952February 19, 2021

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body. Better to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow! What a ride! - Hunter S. Thompson.

Family and friends are heartsick to announce the death of Brian Edward Donovan on the 19th of February 2021 Brian was born in Moncton on March 18, 1952, the son of Mary and Bill Donovan. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Bik (Alene Delaney Donovan), and by his parents and sister, Karen (Robichaud). He is survived by his brothers Michael and Kevin (Cindy Cudmore), and his Delaney in-laws. He was an altar boy and quietly kept his Catholic faith until the end. Brian began his education at École Sainte-Bernadette in Moncton. His mother Mary enrolled him in the school, knowing ― no doubt recognizing his gift of the gab at an early age ― that one language was not enough for Brian. He would do well in both official languages. And he did. He left the school after Grade 8 perfectly bilingual. It was at Sainte Bernadette’s that he met his lifelong friend Stephen Lockyer. Brian was always industrious as a young fellow, mowing lawns, shovelling driveways, delivering newspapers, tending bar and waiting on tables at the Golden Mile Tavern, and working at the CNR shops, alongside his good friend Marvin Greenblatt. At one point, he went into business with another pal as a chimney sweep. Generous and always enterprising, Brian stepped in to assist those who faced discrimination at the doors of certain establishments, discrimination on the basis of age; after a time, the green liquor IDs manufactured by Brian became so well known that some licensed establishments in Moncton would not accept the real ones. After high school, Brian’s mother had a surprise for him. She enrolled him in St. Mary’s University. She didn’t mention this to him until the application was accepted and he had four days to get ready and “be in Halifax by Monday.” And it worked out well for him. Thank you, Mum! He made lifelong friends at SMU and he graduated with a degree in accounting. Following his graduation, he worked with Revenue Canada in Ottawa, where he trained to be a tax auditor, and he returned to Halifax to work for the department here. He then changed direction and went into sales with Chateau-Gai Wines, and had a very successful career as area manager for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. After that, he moved over to Oland Breweries, and he enjoyed his work there for around twenty years, expanding his business contacts and friendships. At one point, he was described by someone well-placed in the industry as “the most successful liquor salesperson in Nova Scotia.” Brian had always loved boats, and he bought his first sailboat in 1979. Sailing became a favourite activity for him and Bik. In his early days on the water, he had no inkling of how far his interest in sailing would take him. After leaving the beverage industry, he studied to meet the Canada Transport Marine Competency requirements, and qualified as a marine captain. From then on, he was Captain Brian Donovan, a.k.a. Captain Eddie. In 2003, Brian started Premier Marine Services Ltd. The company motto was “Making Dreams Come True”. He was known and respected throughout the sailing world as someone who could provide any service required, on land or sea, at a moment’s notice. He could do everything from repairing your boat to arranging a limo in Toronto or tickets for the theatre. He organized land transportation for people travelling around the Maritimes, and arranged for food to be flown up to one of the world’s biggest yachts as it set out to traverse the Northwest Passage. He had over 2000 contacts with providers of various services. Premier Marine is still operating today, the largest marine yacht service company in North America, providing services all the way to Lake Michigan in the U.S.A. At the time he sold the company, he had served 330 yachts, delivering 6,000 assignments. Brian had more friends than he could ever count, some of them who will never be named! With courage and high spirits that the rest of us can only imagine, Brian announced his final diagnosis as a “one-way ticket”, a way out of the life-altering difficulties with which he had been coping. Brian had survived Hodgkin’s Disease in the late 1970s, and another bout of cancer a few years ago, which brought on a life-threatening infection. In between those illnesses, he survived an accident. While doing repairs on his boat he fractured several vertebrae in his neck, and was immobilized for a considerable time in a halo brace. Then, in 2015, he was one of the passengers on the plane that hit the ground short of the runway in a blizzard at Halifax International Airport. He walked away from that. But it was around three years ago that the worst happened. He had to undergo heart surgery and, during the operation, he suffered a stroke. It left him without the use of both his hands. The odds against that ever happening were astronomical. Brian’s fortitude in the face of all this earned him many compliments, including this one: “You are the toughest guy I’ve ever known.” This from a fellow well familiar with tough guys. We’ll say no more. Over the past months, after his terminal illness was diagnosed, he welcomed friends to his Halifax home with a sign on the door: “Smile! No sad faces allowed.” His caregiver Kimberly, who assisted him 24 hours a day, made sure the rule was obeyed. Brian had so many friends that appointments for visits had to be scheduled days in advance. During these visits, Brian lived up to the tradition of his Irish heritage: a great storyteller to the end, he treated you to rollicking tales of his adventures and the characters he has known, and he’d have you laughing till the tears came. Arrangements are being handled by JA Snow Funeral Home. To view or place an online message of condolence please visit A Celebration of Life will be held when C-19 restrictions are lifted or relaxed.

Standing By!


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Brian (Ed) Donovan

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Danny McCarthy

March 3, 2021

Brian my great friend of 47 years you were truly one of a kind. You were kind and generous to your friends but just as kind and generous to people you barely knew. You loved to have a good laugh,frankly lots of good laughs Your ability to give appropriate and inappropriate nicknames to your friends was legendary. I have a smile on my face as I think of many of them.After your terminal diagnosis in July you soared to great heights as an inspiration to anybody who spent time with you and read your story. Your focus was enjoying the time you had left having a few laughs with your friends and I am so happy that we had our fair share of those laughs. I am happy you will be reunited with Bik,the love of your life.You and Bik had a very special relationship!
Thanks for your friendship! You will be missed

Mike Comerford

March 1, 2021

So Sad to hear of Brian's passing . He was a great Espar Dealer and took Pride in every job he did .
Rest well my friend

David Boyle

February 27, 2021

Captain Eddy
You lived a full life buddy.We met when Brian was going to SMU with all the boys from Saint John.In his later years he help out my daughter Jennifer when she attended Dal.He moved her stuff,feed her occasionally and stored her stuff.He treated my daughter as if it were his own.We had a couple of memorable trips on the Yacht (engine failure),but that’s another Brian story .Every time I flew into Halifax I looked up BD and we always went out on a meet and greet with the whole city as he knew everyone’s name.You will be sorely missed brother.My condolences to the family,but I know the Captain would rather you just hoist one in his memory

Dave Boyle,Alison Boyle,Michael,Steffanie and Jennifer

Moira Fraser

February 26, 2021

Unforgettable...that’s Brian. It’s obvious from the loving stories and memories shared here that Brian won’t soon be forgotten.
We became friends back in ‘79 when we were neighbours at the flats on Waegwoltic Avenue. I moved to BC and our contact became Christmas cards until I moved home in ‘92. Then Brian would show up to share his good cheer and suds, which he was then promoting . He and Bik were a great team and it’s so sad they both had to leave “the party” here on planet earth so early. He was one of a kind. I believe his spirit and light will shine on.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends .
Moira Fraser

Greg Aikins

February 25, 2021

Rough sailing these last few years, but Brian's steady hand on the helm was an inspiration to all! Prayers and blessings to family and friends. Greg and Mary

Doug Wasson

February 23, 2021

Brian was one of the first person I met at St.Marys as the Don of the floor in residence. From there a great friendship developed up his last days. He will be missed.

Jamie Horton

February 23, 2021

Marg and I were so sorry to hear of Brian’s passing. We have been friends for over 35 years. Although Brian and I were both from Moncton, I did not meet him until 1985, one foggy night on a Halifax pier. He invited us to join him and Bic to help them move their boat from Privateers to RNSYS. Marg was Bic’s roommate in nursing school at St. Martha’s . We have been friends ever since. Brian always supported me in my acquisition of various sailboats over the years and was always willing to lend a hand or tools. His motto was “Captain Eddy’s got the gear”, and he did.
When we moved to Virginia for work, Brian showed up for a visit on board the world famous sailing yacht, Palawan , originally owned by the President of IBM. I drove Brian to the Norfolk airport the next day for his flight home to Nova Scotia after delivering the yacht to Little Creek YC.
Finally, today while listening to CBC 1, Maritime Noon phone in show today, Brian’s obituary received honourable mention with the Hunter Thompson quote . The show topic was obituaries.
Fair winds and following seas my friend, we will miss you.
Jamie and Marg Horton

Ginny Dernier Hill

February 23, 2021

Brian and I have been life long friends since our High School days in Moncton. Over the years , I have had wonderful meals, laughs and fun on both Cork St and Brook. Plus many a Rendez-Vous at my cottage in Caissie Cape.
He had health issues most of his life , yet was such a positive person who enjoyed life to the fullest.
Finally Brian , the pain is over.! My sympathy to his family and very dedicated friends

Shelley Gray

February 23, 2021

Brian I will miss your energy and Halifax tours. You aways knew who lived where and some fascinating little kind tie bit about the resident. We enjoyed our time together, talking about good times and some of the challenges he faced. Bic will now have your company. Will miss you Brian and my thoughts and prayers are with all your family and friends. Sail on friend.

Mary McMillan

February 23, 2021

Brian, for sure you left your footprint embedded in so many people's hearts and minds. I would say that, that is a successful journey having been experienced during your lifetime. Sometimes, we know someone only a short time, but that is all it takes too make a difference in how you may view certain aspects of your life. I was impressed with your savvy around the travel industry and how you ensured your clients needs were taken care of . Thank you for crossing my path