In loving memory of

October 6, 1957 - September 7, 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


Paulette Lindberg wrote on Sep 13, 2021:

"Marni was able to travel to Japan with me in 2015 to visit and meet many friends in our Sister City. Each day being with her was joyful for almost us as we got to know here. She had a bright and caring Smile for everyone she met. Her Sister Erin and family can Cherish the memories of knowing her. "

Carolyn Crowley wrote on Sep 13, 2021:

"Marni was a great gal. I had the honor of meeting her through her loving sister, Erin. These Irish lasses shared the same laughs, mannerisms of grace and genuine love. I will toast a "Mr. Donovan bump" to honor her spirit and the everlasting love of this special woman. I am in awe on how Erin enriched Marni's life with so much love and dignity..."Death is a heartache, no one can heal. Love is a memory, no one can steal..."??"

Andrea Ford wrote on Sep 12, 2021:

"I never had the pleasure of meeting Marni, and I feel I missed something special. My mother died on 7/22/21, and she had Alzheimer?s for more than 5 years. Thank you for writing this beautifully descriptive truth. "

Dana Roe wrote on Sep 12, 2021:

"I was so blessed to have met and worked with Marni. My heart is deeply saddened by her loss as the world has lost one of the sweetest spirits it ever had. Memories of her bright, curious eyes, her unwavered sweetness and her loving, kind spirit will remain in my heart.. Deepest sympathies to Marni's family. "

Ann Bradley wrote on Sep 11, 2021:

"I didn?t know her, but that was the most beautiful obituary I?ve ever read. So sorry for your loss."

Ruth Murphy wrote on Sep 10, 2021:

"In sympathy and love to Marni?s loving family? Marni is survived by her sister, Erin Donovan (Michael Reed) of Marquette, MI; brother William Donovan, Jr. (Carlen) and their son Jack of Pocatello, ID; niece Amy Burdick and her daughter Trinity Burdick of Marquette, MI; nephew Jim Reed (Meagan) and their daughter Ainsley Reed of American Falls, ID. She was preceded in death by her parents Blanche Donovan and William Donovan of Glendale, CA. Marni?s light, calming presence, and love was a shining beacon to many. I will treasure the wonderful memories I shared with her. May God continue to hold her in the palm of his hand. Marni will be missed??????? Ruth Murphy"

Betsy Savola wrote on Sep 9, 2021:

"To Marni?s family - i did not know her or her family?..just reading the obituary it broke my heart?.?. The obit was beautiful?.she must have been a amazing and beautiful person! My thoughts our with you and your family."

Michele Carlson wrote on Sep 9, 2021:

"I have had the great pleasure of taking care of Marni for appx one year while I worked at Brookeridge. I chose to work on the memory care unit. Marni was ALWAYS a BRIGHT light. When you would walk in her eyes lit up. Marni was many peoples favorite no doubt. She was definately one of mine. I enjoyed getting her up walking, combing her hair and just talking with her. Erin would come in to visit and OH my stars, she LIT up even BRIGHTER. Marni will never be forgotten and she will forever hold a special place in my heart. May he family take comfort in knowing that she is no longer suffering and she is at peace. She is with the Lord. Marni loved people and people loved Marni, it was very evident on a daily basis while working with her . My sincere condolences to the family, Michele carlson"