Westborough – Francis X. Donnelly, 89, of Westborough, MA died Friday, February 2nd, 2024 at UMASS Medical Center. He passed away peacefully of a cardiac event with his beloved wife Ellie at his side.
Born in Newton, MA to Francis and Mary (Sullivan) Donnelly, he was the youngest of three children. He attended parochial school and served as an altar boy. He relished his memories of summering on his mother’s native Prince Edward Island. Because she refused to let him become a Marine he joined the Air Force, departing for boot camp months before his high school graduation. He served two years in sweltering 100 degree weather in Del Rio, Texas before transferring to Goose Bay, Labrador for another two years, shivering in below zero conditions.
He then worked for the City of Newton Forestry Department before securing employment at various dairies. Several of his children can attest to being the milkman’s kid. Also a driver for Apple Valley News, he played on its softball team with some of his children. In his later years he started a courier and taxi service, ABC Courier.
Frank was known for his Irish wit and love of Irish lilts. His unusual sense of humor was inherited by all six of his children. He implemented the innovative strategy of doorknob staring as a form of punishment, our family version of a “time out.”
A huge NE sports fan he held Bruins season tickets for nearly 20 years. He participated in tenpin league bowling and preferred golfing in his golden years, although his trigger fingers made handling his clubs cumbersome. He told his great-grandchildren it depleted his High Fives to High Threes. He was known for his armchair coaching, refereeing, and colorful color commentary. He has a penchant for amusing adages, possessed an encyclopedic knowledge on a myriad of topics, and recently surprised his children by reciting poetry, his secret passion. He was a walking atlas, able to give multiple directions to any place without consulting a map, well before GPS existed. He was a rover who liked the solitude of being on the road even if all the red lights conspired against him. And could that man eat chocolate.
A longtime member of the Marlboro Eagles (Aerie #3565) he forged many friendships as a respected club fixture. He held leadership positions and was actively engaged in numerous community service projects of which he was proud. He enjoyed throwing darts at the club with Ellie. True to his Irish roots he favored a cold brew. It must be admitted oftentimes he found himself quite thirsty. He cherished his poodle Dunkin named in honor of his favorite coffee franchise. The family fears Dunkin stock may plummet due to his passing.
Frank’s fortunes increased through his patient and amazing wife Ellie. She kept him in his place while taking such loving care of him. He prevailed over numerous smoking related conditions and a nasty bout of COVID but this time his battery couldn’t be recharged. Frank’s family feels certain he will be a constant guide and source of energy for us as we live our lives. We ask that you often rib, cajole, and tease others in his memory.
Frank is survived by his wife Elinor (Mollica) Donnelly of Westborough, and his children John Donnelly and his wife Kimberly of Oakwood, OH, Mary Jane Donnelly and her companion William Hastings of Auburn, Kathleen Laliberte and her husband Andre of Marlborough, Nancy Aho and her husband William of Lunenburg, and Robert Donnelly and his wife Michelle of Marvin, NC; his stepchildren Holly Butland and her companion Mike Woodworth of Marlborough, Jill Durand and Matthew Durand of Berlin, and Richard Hatzidakis and his fiancée Stacey Keyes of Millbury; as well as 12 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren; and 13 step grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter Patricia Donnelly, his former wife Barbara (Crotty) Donnelly, and his siblings Mary White and William Donnelly.
A memorial service to celebrate Frank’s life will take place at a later date.
Tighe Hamilton Regional Funeral Home of Hudson assisted with arrangements.