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Charles "Chaz" Donovan

Charles “Chaz” Donovan was born in Newport in 1929 the son of Charles C. “Neil” and Gladys Jackman Donovan. He was raised in the Fifth Ward and attended Carey School, John Clarke School, and Rogers High School where he graduated in the class of 1947. While growing up in the Fifth Ward, Chaz was active in the Boy Scouts of America Troop Four which met at the Newport Electric Company. While in the Scouts he earned his Eagle Badge.

After graduating from High School, Chaz enlisted in the Naval Reserve in Newport and then went on to active duty regular enlisted navy where he served in naval aviation as a aviation electronic technician.

Chaz married Francoise La Rue in 1953. Together they have four children; Charles, Kevin, Jacques, and Michelle. They have six grandchildren.

He left the Navy to work for IBM. They sent him to school to learn how to maintain the SAGE computer systems for the United States Air Force. This knowledge allowed him to return to Newport. He used his training to land a job with Sperry Univac working on their Trident Submarine Computer Systems at the Navy’s Underwater Laboratory in 1978.

Shortly after returning to Newport, Chaz managed to move back to the Fifth Ward and joined the Dennis E. Collins Division One of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Both were done in record time. Chaz joined the Hibernians to promote his Irish Heritage as well as for the fraternal brotherhood.

In promoting his Irish culture he volunteered for the Parade Committee where he continues to serve on the Committee and organize the Parade Marshals, a job which he was appointed to by the Parade Chairman in 1999.  He has served on various committees at the Hibernian Hall including the Special Events Committee and the Screening Committee. He also helped in the renovation of the hall. Chaz has helped the Newport Irish History Museum by cooking a traditional Irish lamb stew for their annual Newport Irish sight-seeing bus tour. He is in a Confederate Civil War reenactment unit where he portrays an Irishman serving the cause. He does this to remind people that there were many Irishman who lost their lives in the Civil War on both the North and South.

His latest endeavor in promoting Irish heritage is joining the AOH Pipes and Drums. When he is not carrying the United States flag in the band’s color guard he carries the Irish National Tri Color Flag. This is his primary position with the band. Nothing makes him so proud as to be at the front of the band carrying the Irish colors and marching prideful with his other AOH brothers and sisters. This along with being the Head of the Line of Marshals for the Newport Parade, are two of his proudest achievements in promoting his Irish Heritage.

Chaz is also involved many other activities. He is a Eucharistic Minister at Saint Augustin’s Church. He served four years on the Newport Water front Commission. His hobbies include sailing. He has been known to go ice skating with the grandkids. In the past, he has served as a parade marshal for the Newport Police Parade and the Tall Ships Parade. The Newport Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee refer to him as the Benjamin Button of Hibernian Hall, as he gets older he gets more involved and is never afraid to take on life or any adventure. He is a pillar of the Irish American Community and to all Senior Citizens. 

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