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John P. Donohue, 1st lieutenant in city police


John P. "Jack" Donohue, a World War II veteran and retired Baltimore police lieutenant whose parish priest described him as tough and loyal, died Saturday of renal failure at St. Agnes Hospital. The Arbutus resident was 74.

After his retirement from the city force in 1973 and until 1986, he was security supervisor at Church Hospital.

From his days as a child growing up on Stricker Street, Mr. Donohue wanted to be a police officer. He joined the city force in 1947 as a patrolman and was promoted in 1966 to sergeant. He served as a member of the tactical squad and was stationed in Central, Southern and Southwestern districts before his retirement in 1973 from Southeastern District as a first lieutenant.

"He worked a beat for a time near Camden Station," recalled retired city Police Commissioner Frank J. Battaglia, who described Mr. Donohue as "a good policeman and an honorable man who did his job well."

"He never ever spoke about his work because he worked tough neighborhoods and saw everything imaginable, and he wasn't a big talker," said his daughter, Regina A. Donohue of Arbutus. "He saw lots of changes in society from his days as a patrolman with a night stick but he truly loved his work."

The Rev. Michael J. Roach, who was acquainted with Mr. Donohue at St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, where he was a communicant and usher, described him as "quite a character who took great pride in having been a policeman."

"He was a splendid man who was from a great West Baltimore Irish family and was full of stories from the old days," Father Roach said yesterday. "He was a tough guy with a good loyal heart."

Raised in Southwest Baltimore, he studied at St. Martin Parochial School and later earned his high school equivalency. He joined the Coast Guard in 1939 and was discharged with the rank of boatswain mate first class in 1945.

Ms. Donohue said her father was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees baseball team and the Notre Dame football team. He attended Babe Ruth's funeral, she said.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Fourteen Holy Martyrs Council, American Legion Post No. 109 and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

He was married in 1945 to the former Helen A. Farrell, who died in 1980.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, Poppleton and Hollins streets.

Other survivors include a son, Patrick J. Donohue of Baltimore; two brothers, Thomas C. Donohue of Southwest Baltimore and George A. Donohue of Millersville; and a grandson.

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