Obituary of Helen Ilse Donovan
Helen I. Donovan of West Nyack, 98, passed away peacefully on the evening of August 28, 2021. Born in Borstensorf, Germany, in 1923, Helen’s life was filled with adventure, tragedy, triumph and a deep faith in God. Her family moved to Nuremberg where her education was intertwined with the rise and fall of the Third Reich. She married Ludwig Dressing, the commander of a German panzer unit, in 1943. Together they had a son, Peter. Her husband died in World War II. After the war ended, she was approached by a sergeant in the U.S. Army, Thomas A. Donovan of Nyack. They married in 1953, after which Tom brought her to Nyack, and a few years later to West Nyack. They raised two children, Dennis and Lynn. Helen offered her time as a volunteer in many charitable projects including work at the West Nyack Free Library and Nyack Hospital. Her philanthropy won her many friends across the U.S.A. supporting children’s programs, education and seminarians. She especially supported the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Salesian Sisters. She loved attending the meetings of the Congers One Senior Club and the Blessed Mother Sodality at St. Anthony's Church. Tom and Helen loved to explore the world, having visited more than 30 countries. They spent their vacation time cruising the high seas aboard everything from luxury liners to an Ecuadorian banana boat. They once toured St. Peters in Rome with former President Bill Clinton. They had an audience with the Pope, St. John Paul II to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. In 2020 Helen published a memoir, A War Bride’s Journey, describing her adventures throughout her life. Meant for a limited circulation for her family, it ended up selling well on Amazon, B&N and other booksellers. Helen’s Christian faith was a compass during her life journey. Helen loved to attend church at St. Thomas Lutheran in Central Nyack and at St. Anthony Church in Nanuet, sometimes going to both on the same Sunday! Helen is predeceased by her first husband, Ludwig Dressing and their son, Peter, and by her second husband, Thomas. Her survivors include her son, Fr. Dennis Donovan, SDB, and daughter, Lynn Donovan-Krakaur and her husband Andrew Krakaur. She has two granddaughters, both her pride and joy, in Lauren Krakaur Finn and her husband Matthew Finn and Erin Krakaur and her fiance Matthew Dybus. She is also survived by her brother Ernst Rudolph of Germany. A Wake will be held at Joseph W. Sorce Funeral Home, 728 W Nyack Rd, West Nyack, NY on Tuesday August 31st from 4pm to 7pm. A funeral Mass will be offered at St. Anthony Church, 36 West Nyack Rd., Nanuet, NY on Wednesday September 1st at 11:30 am with interment to follow St. Anthony's Cemetery .
Contributions in Helen's memory may be sent to: The Marian Shrine, 174 Filors Lane, Stony Point, New York 10980
728 West Nyack Road
West Nyack, NY 10994
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