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Jean M. Donahue, trade show organizer, dies

Jean M. Donahue with her husband, the late James K. Donahue, produced the Baltimore Industrial Show, the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show and the International Auto Show.
Jean M. Donahue with her husband, the late James K. Donahue, produced the Baltimore Industrial Show, the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show and the International Auto Show.

Jean Morrison Donahue, a former co-owner of an industrial show firm that produced the International Auto Show and the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show, died Dec. 4 of a stroke at her Lutherville home. She was 92.

Born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, she was the daughter of Arthur Morrison, an engineer, and his wife, Laura. She was a 1945 graduate of Arlington High School in Arlington, Massachusetts.

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She married James Keefe Donahue in 1954. They were introduced by friends in Belmont, Massachusetts.

She worked for the Quaker Oats Company, the Watertown Savings and Loan and the Electronics Corporation of America until 1955.

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She and her husband and two daughters moved to Baltimore in 1974 and opened Industrial Shows of America based in Timonium. They produced the Baltimore Industrial Show at the 5th Regiment Armory and later at the Baltimore Convention Center. Their Chesapeake Bay Boat Show and the International Auto Show were also held at the Convention Center.

“We owned several boat shows and my parents never owned a boat,” said her daughter, Susan Donahue Cross of Lutherville.

Mrs. Donahue handles sales and invoicing and negotiated terms with vendors and convention center owners.

They also produced the Industrial and Machine Tool shows throughout the United States and Mexico.

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She and her husband sold their business to Penton Media in 1998.

Mrs. Donahue then retired and spent time between her home in Lutherville and in Brewster, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, where she enjoyed gardening.

A Republican, Mrs. Donahue, was active in the campaigns of former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., a family friend.

Mrs. Donahue enjoyed competitive bridge games at the Valley Bridge Club and was a garden club enthusiast. She participated in book clubs and read historical novels. She also supported the education of her grandsons and remained interested in the stock market.

A memorial service will be held on Cape Cod on July 4.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include two grandsons. A daughter, Janice Donahue, died in 2017. Her husband of 57 years died in 2011.

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