October 27, 1931 – May 16, 2019
Obituary of Daniel Anthony O’Donohue (October 27, 1931 to May 16, 2019)
Ambassador Daniel Anthony O’Donohue died at 7:30 AM on 16 May at home in Alexandria, Virginia, attended by his loving wife and family. In death, he shared the same inspiring faith, love, strength, and self-sacrificing service that defined his life.
Ambassador O’Donohue, the son of Irish immigrants, served as the United States Ambassador to Thailand and Burma and completed his almost four-decade career as a Career Minister. He also served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs. Other duties included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs and Director of the Office of Korean Affairs. Overseas posts included an earlier tour in Thailand as Deputy Chief of Mission and tours in Korea and Ghana as Political Section Chief. His first post was Genoa as Vice Counsel. Ambassador O’Donohue was a Diplomat in Residence at Howard University.
After retirement in 1995, he served as a Senior Foreign Service Inspector, leading inspections of thirty U.S. Diplomatic Missions. Additionally, he served as the President of Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR). He was active in Queen of Apostles Catholic Church to include the promotion of vocations. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
As a young man, Ambassador O’Donohue worked his way through Detroit’s Catholic Central High School and the University of Detroit. After Army service in the Korean War, he completed graduate studies at Wayne State University and served as a Michigan State civil servant. At the urging of a friend, and on a whim, he took the Foreign Service exam. He knew nothing of the Foreign Service except as an opportunity to see the world. He seized it.
During his first assignment, his fiancée, Mary Gertrude Miney, and his sister Margaret, sailed to Italy for their wedding. Ambassador O’Donohue had decided, with all the attendant risk, on a small, local chapel in Genoa that lacked any experience with foreigners. Sure enough, a voluble parish priest stopped the ceremony mid-stride, declaring that he could not accept Americans as official witnesses. This was the first of many adventures that would distinguish his and Mary’s six-decade romance. Of the many world events he influenced during his 40 years of service to his country, he considered most dramatic the rise of democracy and a market economy in war-torn Korea. His Army experience inspired him to return to Korea, at first opportunity, to make a difference at an historic inflection point for an important and enduring ally. Korea and East Asia were his professional passions.
Ambassador O’Donohue was born on 27 October 1931 in Detroit, Michigan to Daniel Joseph and Mary Ann (née Keating) O’Donohue, both of Ireland. Ambassador O’Donohue was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife of sixty years, Mary Gertrude O’Donohue (née Miney); his five children, Dan (Kathleen), Joan (Doug) McCuistion, Father John, Thomas (Lorrie), and Michael (Lynn); fourteen grandchildren; five-great grandchildren; and his siblings, Margaret Whitehead, Joan Buchanan and Gerald (Jeanne).
He will be buried in the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired (DACOR) Section of the historic Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington DC. Every Memorial Day, honors are rendered there to our nation’s Foreign Service Officers.
- Visitation Monday, May 20, 2019
- Visitation Monday, May 20, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, May 21, 2019
- Interment Tuesday, May 21, 2019
May 21, 2019
Well, Dan, we met in the yearbook room at Catholic Central almost 71 years ago; you were sweeping the area; I was working on the 1949 Shamrock, the school's yearbook. We struck up a conversation that ended last Thursday. Great memories: getting together at your parents' house on Dexter, softball with Bob and Leo Toal and George and John Dietz at "MacNeil"Field," University of Detroit, Alpha Gamma Upsilon, its dinner dances and stag parties, When I student taught at Catholic Central in 1953, you and I checked the exams for Fr. Collins's ninth grade English; we devised our own grading system. No one objected.
Ray Doucet, Jim Hubbell, and I drove to Colorado to drive you home when you left the Army. On the way home, we visited a friend in Salt Lake City, admired the Mormon Temple, Utah girls. and drank our share of Western beer.
My picking up a foreign service application for you changed our lives, but we kept in touch.
Marie and I looked forward to your annual family gatherings at Camp Dearborn when you and Mary would get away and join the Toals and us for lunch and catch-up conversation at Cowley's in Farmington. Good times, Dan.
And the Catholic Central class of 1949 reunions! You, Mary, Marie, and I enjoyed the sixty-fifth at O'Mara's in Berkley five years ago. We had a magnificent time at your golden wedding celebration at Camp Dearborn, just about as a good a time as when we enjoyed your parents' hospitality on Dexter in Detroit: Jerry and Joan were little kids, Margaret in high school, Great times, fine memories. I loved your parents, your family, the Irish atmosphere of your home. I miss you, Dan. Ave atque Vale.
James and Margarete Dandridge
May 21, 2019
Dan will always be with us in our hearts and prayers albeit, he has peacefully transitioned to everlasting life.
We traveled the world together with Dan and Mary and our reflections on our experiences are richer discovering the wonders of mankind, wherever we were. Dan’s unique sense of humor made the most challenging work experiences easy as we looked forward to the next day. RIP
Jim and Margarete
May 20, 2019
Dear Father O'Donohue and all the O'Donohue family,
We are praying for you and the repose of the soul of your father, Daniel. I know your father's faithful, strong witness to his faith is carried on through you, Father O'Donohue, to countless souls who are blessed by it. And I am sure the same can be said for all his descendants.
May Daniel rest in peace,
May 20, 2019
Aunt Mary and family,
Our sincerest apologies for not being able to be there with you. May the grace of God give you peace and comfort during this difficult time. We will always think fondly of Uncle Dan and will miss his wonderful stories of the amazing life he lived. He was a pure example of strength in faith that will forever inspire us to grow in ours. We love you all and will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
Greg, Colleen, Elizabeth, Colum and Brogan
Lyle & Cindy Wishart
May 18, 2019
Dear Gerry, Jeanne and family,
We wish that we could be there with you. We send our love, prayers for Dan’s soul and trust in Jesus to bring you comfort in this difficult time. May the peace of Christ be with all of you and may angels lead him into paradise.
Love, Lyle & Cindy Wishart