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Mollie Donovan, Longtime Westport Volunteer

Ines Amalia "Mollie" Donovan, a longtime volunteer in the Westport arts and preservation community, an advertising executive, and a medical and technical writer, died Wednesday. She was 84.

Born in Hamden on July 11, 1926, Donovan was co-chairwoman of the Westport Historical Society's Exhibit and Programs Committee; curator of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, and a committee member of the WPA Art Rescue that restored 32 works of art from the WPA Arts Project.

Recently, Donovan was honored as Volunteer of the Decade by the Westport Historical Society for her three decades of contributions that included her role in the acquisition of Wheeler House in 1980; development of the Heritage Tree; participation in the historical society's book and video projects, as well 50 exhibits she produced at the society. She was also listed in Westport magazine as one of 40 "People Who Created a Lasting Legacy" in Westport's history.

She also received the YMCA's 8th annual Faces of Achievement tribute for her support of the arts as well as the Governor's Art Award for her commitment to the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection.

In 2009, the Westport Historical Society established the Mollie Award in her honor. This award is annually given to a society volunteer.

Outside of her work in the arts community, Donovan was a gardener, homemaker and a cook. She also restored and refinished furniture.

Before having children, Donovan was the first woman hired as a draftsman at General Electric during World War II. She was employed at Safety Industries as a draftsman and later as the corporate advertising director for the company's five divisions.

She is survived by her husband of 55 years, John J. Donovan; her children, David of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Eve of Albany, Calif., Maura Paulik of Fairfield and Daniel Donovan of Westport; daughters-in-law, Sherry Donovan and Nicole Donovan; son-in-law David Paulik; 12 grandchildren; two sisters, Eve Potts of Essex and Marion Morra of Milford; four nieces and nephews; five grand-nieces, and two grand-nephews. She was predeceased by a son, Douglas.

A celebration of Donovan's life will be held Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport, CT 06880; the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, c/o Nancy Harris, Westport Public Schools, 110 Myrtle Ave., Westport, CT 06880, or the Douglas Donovan Scholarship Fund, c/o Staples Tuition Grants, P.O. Box 5159, Westport, CT 06881-5159.

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