The Rev. William Henry Donahue, 91, died Sept. 30, 2013, at Holy Cross House, the medical facility for the Congregation of Holy Cross, U.S. Province in Notre Dame, Ind.

Father Donahue was born Aug. 22, 1922, in Philadelphia to John and Mary (Drum) Donahue. He was the oldest of seven children.

He was received into the congregation on Aug. 15, 1942, professing his first vows on Aug. 16, 1943. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1945 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and made his final vows on June 9, 1947. He was ordained on June 7, 1949, at the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He later earned a master’s and doctorate in biology from the Catholic University of America.

Father Donahue was on the faculty in the Biology Department at King’s College (a Holy Cross college in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., established in 1946) from 1953 to 1974. He served in a number of roles at King’s from chairman of the Biology Department to counselor in student residence halls. He was involved in research over the summers supported by the National Science Foundation and had a faculty fellowship at the University of Texas in Austin and at its Marine Institute from 1971 to 1972, and 1973.

From 1974 to 1989, he was rector of St. Mary Cathedral in Austin and led the historic restoration of the cathedral. From 1976 to 1986, he served on the Marriage Tribunal for the Diocese of Austin, as well as a diocesan consultor; for the cathedral, he ran the marriage prep programs. Father Donahue also organized the Catholic Chaplaincy program for Brackenridge Hospital.

In 1989, he began his service as pastor of Holy Family Parish in Copperas Cove, where he celebrated his 80th birthday before leaving in 2002. In 2002, he moved to Christopher Lodge, a Holy Cross retirement community in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and assisted at two local parishes. He moved to Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2007. Father Donahue also served in various positions within the Congregation of Holy Cross. From 1977 to 1982, he was on the Board of Trustees for St. Edward’s University (a Holy Cross school founded in 1878). He served several terms on the Provincial Councils of the former Southern Province, including one term as an assistant provincial.

Father Donahue was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings.

Survivors include his two sisters, Margaret DeLisle of Florida and Dorothy Creighton of Pennsylvania.

The wake service was held Oct. 2, 2013, at Moreau Seminary, on the campus of Notre Dame and the funeral Mass was held on Oct. 3, 2013, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross may be made to U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or at

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