Oct 06, 1957 - Sep 07, 2021


October 06, 1957 - September 07, 2021


Marni Ann Donovan, 63, of Marquette, passed away on September 7, 2021 at Brookridge Height's Assisted Living under the care of Lake Superior Life Care and Hospice.

Imagine if you can, a jigsaw puzzle, 3500 pieces, 70 columns across the top and 50 rows top to bottom. It took years to complete because of its complexity, but once completed, it was amazing and remained amazing for quite some time. Then one day, a piece goes missing, one from the upper left corner area. You notice a piece is missing but it really doesn't affect the overall picture. Then, several months later, a second piece disappears, lower right corner area. Again, the overall picture is still very clear. Then more and more pieces start to vanish at an ever quickening pace. All of a sudden a third of the puzzle is gone; you now become aware of what is missing rather than what remains. The remaining picture is fractured and large areas are now just voids. And the process continues until there are no more pieces to be seen, and the picture is gone. This is how dementia dismantles a human being. So it was with my bride, my best friend, my adviser, my confidant, and my soul mate, Marni Ann Donovan.

When she was born, she knew not her name nor what she would accomplish. At her death, she had forgotten her name, her accomplishments, her friends, her sister, and me, her husband. Early onset dementia stole all of that from her memory. But, in between those two events, she burned brighter than the brightest star, was blessed with unlimited passion and compassion, and was usually the brightest mind in the room. She was loyal beyond measure and the best friend I could ever have asked for. Our honeymoon lasted until her passing. In 30+ years of marriage, we never fought. We would always talk out issues so that we were both a part of the solution. It was heaven on earth for both of us.

Marni worked several small jobs before joining IBM in 1982. Starting as a secretary, she rose quickly through both administrative and technical management positions ultimately becoming a Project Management Professional. After 20 years with IBM she decided the time had come to give back, so she ended her IBM career and became a teacher of young minds. For six years, she taught 3rd grade in Cherokee County, GA. In 2012, she left teaching to care for her terminally ill mother. After her mom's passing in 2013, she and I decided that Marquette, MI would be our next, and last, stop. And that's where the first signs of dementia started showing up.

Marni has requested that she be cremated and her ashes spread around County Cork in Southern Ireland where her father's ashes can be found. A little here, a little there but mostly around Castle Donovan, the ancestral home of the Donovan clan. Marni, you will be missed but never forgotten.

No tears please! Marni would not want that. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened". Marni 'happened'; smile because her path and your path crossed. Celebrate the fact that you knew her and she knew you, and then smile!

Marni passed quietly on September 7. According to Marni's wishes, there will be no service; she hated excessive attention. In lieu of a service, please take five minutes and recall all of the special times you spent with her and she spent with you. If you wish to donate something, please contribute to the Alzheimer's Association.

Canale-Tonella Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting Marni's family where memories and condolences may be shared at

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