William Henry Donnelly, V

  • Born: August 23, 1945
  • Died: August 20, 2021
  • Location: Weston, Massachusetts

Concord Funeral Home

Director - Glenn D. Burlamachi, CFSP
74 Belknap St.
Concord, MA 01742

Tel. (978) 369-3388

Tribute & Message From The Family

William Henry Donnelly, 75, of Weston, Ma, passed away August 20, 2021.

Bill was born in Boston, Ma on August 23, 1945. After time in Jamaica Plain and Weymouth, his family moved to Worcester, where Bill attended Blessed Sacrament, Chandler Middle School and Classical High School.

There Bill excelled in football and baseball, continuing a lifelong interest in athletics that began as a Little Leaguer and continued when he was a co-captain of the lacrosse team at the College of the Holy Cross, where he was a member of the Class of 1967. He might have joined the track team in high school – his only attempt at shot put broke the school record – but he told the coach he wasn't interested. He was also a downhill skier for most of his life.

It was during his time at Holy Cross that Bill's mother Kathryn died, not long after the death of his father William, leaving Bill the head of the family and responsible for his brother Gerry and sister Jane. Many Worcester neighbors helped during this time of need, and Kathryn's brother Leo Glynn and wife Adriana provided much appreciated assistance.

After graduation, Bill attended the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. While there, he made friends for a lifetime, friends who came to his aid when challenges came later in life.

Bill spent most of his career in the medical software field, consulting with hospitals around New England and beyond.

Throughout his life Bill was an avid reader, an eager traveler, and a passionate fan of Boston sports. Among his prized possessions were photos with Ted Williams and Dustin Pedroia.

He was a dog guy. His sheepdog Puff made life interesting on Marlborough Street; Sam the Labrador roamed the streets of Weston; in later years his namesake Liam, Jane's lab, became a best buddy.

Bill had a wonderful sense of humor and a continuing sense of awe when presented with new information.

There were places that were special in his life: Warren, Vermont, where he owned a second home for a time; Martha's Vineyard, where he vacationed with his Tuck Brat Pack; and Atlantic Canada, the site of a memorable camping trip.

In 2018, Bill fell while walking and suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury that left him partially paralyzed. The last few years of his life were difficult, with multiple hospitalizations and a series of medical issues. He came to rely on two special people: his son Michael and his sister Jane, who provided invaluable and patient support. His Tuck classmates banded together to aid with financial help. And a series of caretakers, especially Moses, Jebelle, Marie and many others, provided the care he came to rely upon.

A highlight of the last year was when he received a special gift: a signed letter from fellow Holy Cross alumni Anthony Fauci, urging Bill to persevere in the face of his difficulties.

Bill is predeceased by his brother Gerry and his cousin Astrid Glynn, who knew what it meant to be the oldest of three siblings.

Bill is survived by Michael; Jane, her husband Chris Stirling, and their children Casey and Kevin; cousins Leslie Glynn and husband Jim Polando, Laura Glynn, Thomas Glynn, wife Marylou Batt and daughters Kate and Jennifer; sister-in-law Ginna Ives Donnelly; nephews William B. Donnelly and Andrew G. Donnelly and his wife Tiffany and their children Jack, Katherine, and Grace; and former wives Joyce Richard, with whom he remained close, and Gail Johnston, mother of his beloved son Michael.

Family and friends will gather to honor and remember Bill for his memorial mass on Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 11:00 am at St. Julia's Parish, 374 Boston Post Road, Weston; the burial service is private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill's memory may be made to:
Bay Cove Human Services
66 Canal Street
Boston, MA 02114

Arrangements under the care of Concord Funeral Home, 74 Belknap St., Concord, MA 01742 978-369-3388 www.concordfuneral.com


Condolence & Memory Journal

Dear Jane and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I remember you talking about your brother in the many years that we worked together. I'm sorry I never had the chance to meet him. My sincere condolences.

Posted by Lorna Moritz - Roslindale, MA - Family Friend   August 29, 2021

Dearest Michael , Jane and loving family . I send heartfelt sympathy to each one of you at this time of great loss.I have fond memories of your family growing up on Coolidge Rd. Please know I send hugs for your hearts and prayers for Billy.

Posted by Martha Bergin Liddy - Holden, MA - Neighbor   August 27, 2021

Billy and I were classmates at Blessed Sacrament School. Everyone liked him. He was kind, funny, enthusiastic, spiritual and an all around great person. I remember while in eighth grade, Sister Mary Cecilia challenged the class to see who could say the most rosaries in a week. You don't even have to guess who won...Billy of course. I'll remember our grammar school days with great fondness and will remember Billy with smiles and deep affection. May God abundantly bless Billy and his family and friends.

Posted by Vivian Pickett Peluso - School   August 26, 2021

God bless you Bill. We will always think of you. We will always remember your goodness. You will be dearly missed.

Posted by James and Sarah Bergin    August 25, 2021

Gut punched by the news of Billy's passing. He was my Best Man 42 years ago and my oldest friend dating to Blessed Sacrament and Holy Cross. He was always upbeat with a big smile. A few years ago, life proved to him and those who loved him, how cruel it can be and often is. I'll always remember Billy.

Posted by Will Kelleher - School   August 25, 2021

My thoughts and prayers are with the Bill's family. I remember this wonderful family from Blessed Sacrament Grammar School. Bill Savage

Posted by Wiiliam Savage - Worcester, MA - Classmate   August 24, 2021

So sad to hear of another teammate passing away. Say hi to Jimmy,Sharky,Sumner,Gerry,Sam,Greg and
along with Coach Ryder. Classical Football memories fade but some of us try to keep them forever in mind.

Posted by Dennis Holbrook - Englewood, FL - Classmate   August 23, 2021

I was Billy's classmate at Blessed Sacrament School in Worcester. A nicer kid you could never find. In eighth grade, our teacher, Sister Mary Cecilia, gave the class a challenge, to see who could say the most rosaries in a week. You can guess who won...Billy of course. He was polite, respectful, spiritual and lots of fun. I have thought about him many times through the years. I will keep all those he loved in my prayers. Eternal rest grant unto Billy dear Lord. My he rest in peace.

Posted by Vivian Peluso - Worcester, MA - Classmate   August 23, 2021

Billy and I were classmates and friends at Holy Cross. We both had the good fortune of having uncles who were sportswriters for the Boston papers. His uncle, Gerry Moore, became the Sports Info Director for the Boston Patriots. My uncle, John Gillooly, began his career as a beat writer for the Boston Braves and got to know Braves' traveling secretary, Billy Sullivan, who founded the Patriots. We both attended the first AFL game in September 1960 with free tickets courtesy of our uncles. We found this out when we met in 1963. Billy was a terrific classmate and a better friend. His journey was not the smoothest right out of high school as some know.
He summoned grit and let his talent guide him.
By our 50th reunion, he was a first rounder.

Posted by Jay McLaughlin Holy Cross 1967    August 23, 2021

Just Great Happy Neighborhood memories..."Campere" the Donnelly overnight with all the neighbors pitching tents in Bill's Backyard....Fall Fires explosively ignited with gasoline in the woods behind Bill's house!!! Bill with his chainsaw taking out tree stumps attempting to make an iceskating rink in the neighborhood swamp and convincing all the other dad's to help. Bill's enthusiasm was contagious and everyone wanted to be a part of the fun especially the kids who looked forward to cooking marshmallows and hot dogs on the fires and the sleepover's where very little sleep happened...Very Fond Memories!

Posted by Gail Bayer - Weston, MA - neighbor   August 23, 2021

Family Album