Donn Devine, attorney, author, guardsman

Donn Devine, attorney, author, guardsman 1

Donn Devine, the longtime Diocese of Wilmington archivist whose lengthy career covered law, writing, making plans director for the town of Wilmington, and inspector widespread for the countrywide shield, died May 5. He became 90. Devine, a St. Ann’s Parish member in Wilmington, served the diocese from 1989 till his retirement in 2016. His interest in history and genealogy became blended with his previous work as a city planner, chemist, newspaper writer, control representative, and legal professional.

The second diocesan archivist, Devine, oversaw handwritten and typed parish sacramental and diocesan data. He supervised the microfilming of information, putting digital records online, and switching from microfilmed to scanned files. According to a 2016 article in The Dialog, upon his retirement, he said he turned into interested in some diocesan cloth for reference functions at approximately the equal time the primary archivist, John Pretzel, became trying to find a successor.

“I had the best fortune that the diocese despatched me to a weeklong introductory path for nonsecular archivists held in a massive convent in Springfield, Mass.,” he instructed The Dialog. “Now they pick the time period archivists of religious collections, but maximum archivists then were retired religious. In magnificence, I turned into the most effective male. There had been 18 nuns and a young lady who had gotten a process because of the Salvation Army’s archivist.” Services were set for Friday, May 17. Calling hours start at nine:30 a.M. St. Joseph at the Brandywine, accompanied through a Mass of Christian burial at 10:30 and interment at Cathedral Cemetery.

One of his most important achievements turned into posting an index of baptism and marriage facts from the diocese up thru 1900. That is at lalley.Com. He additionally had the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints – the Mormons – microfilm sacramental facts with the permission of the overdue Bishop Robert E. Mulvee. Those are at the Delaware Family History Center.


Father Thomas Peterman, a retired priest of the diocese who lives in Wilmington, is prepared to publish his book approximately Bishop John J. Monaghan, the third bishop of Wilmington. Devine had something to do with that, the priest said. “Donn Devine told me, in case you do whatever before you die, try to write a biography on Bishop Monaghan,’” Father Peterman said. Father Peterman said Devine changed into constantly cooperative and beneficial at some stage in any of his projects, including records of the diocese and brief biographies of all of its monks. Devine advised Father Peterman he always kept his books accessible “for any phone calls.”

Devine additionally had the gift of gab, in line with the priest. “He liked to speak. I would pass in trying to get deep into an e-book, and he might keep on talking.” Susan Kirk Ryan, who took over for Devine, became thankful for his help during the transition. “He becomes a terrific mentor and made substantial contributions to the diocesan background over many of his 90 years, which includes years long before he served as an archivist,” she said.

After retiring, he remained energetic as a consultant and became a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Last yr, the board mounted the Donn Devine Award for Extraordinary Service to the Board for Certification of Genealogists, which recognizes that “the muse of any terrific company is rooted in the carrier; it’s far the nurturing force which fuels all boom,” in keeping with its website. The first winner will be introduced this month.

In March, Devine turned into commemorated at an award luncheon co-hosted with the aid of the Delaware Genealogical Society and the Board for Certification of Genealogists. There, his election as an authorized genealogist emeritus was introduced. Born in South Amboy, N.J., Devine graduated from Archmere Academy and the University of Delaware with chemistry. He labored as a chemist for some years, then wrote and edited guides for Atlas Powder Co. In Wilmington. After incomes his law diploma in the first graduating class at Widener School of Law in 1975, he served as a making plans director for the town of Wilmington.

He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Management within the 1960s. In the overdue Nineteen Seventies, he became the deputy chief of a team of workers for the 261st Theater Signal Command inside the Army National Guard. He spent 4 years as the inspector wellknown for the Delaware Army National Guard. He became a retired brigadier preferred with the kingdom National Guard.

Devine became practicing law whilst he has become the archivist, and he consulted with the metropolis’s Law Department beginning in 2001. He was a unique recommend with the nation Division of Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health for some years in the Nineties. He also lent his felony know-how to the Board for Certified Genealogists, and he was a mediator for Delaware Superior Court because of 1998.

He became a member of many corporations and boards. In the church, he labored with the Catholic Interracial Council, the St. Mary’s-St. Patrick’s Parish Council; and the Association of Catholic Diocesan Archivists. Devine also was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He also wrote the fourth verse of the kingdom tune, “Our Delaware.” Devine is survived with his wife, Betty, and their kids, Martin and Mary Elizabeth, both of Wilmington, and 4 grandchildren. He became predeceased by his first son, Edward, who died at 18 months.

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