George Joseph Donoghue, 93 of Oklahoma City passed away on Friday, September 15, 2017 with his two nephews, David Patrick Melton of Blanchard, OK and Joseph Marion Melton of Arcadia, OK at his side. George, the youngest of nine children, was born on March 6, 1924 in Elk City, Oklahoma to Thomas Patrick Donoghue and Mary Berndetta McManus Donoghue. George’s parents moved to Oklahoma City from Chicago, IL in 1905 and remained in Oklahoma City until 1916 when the family moved to western Oklahoma. They stayed in western Oklahoma for about 20 years and endured the Dust Bowl before returning to live in Oklahoma City.
George (Age 19) was inducted into the U.S. Army in November of 1943 and was assigned to the 740th Tank Battalion known as the “Daredevil Tankers”. The battalion was made up of boys primarily from Oklahoma and Texas. After completing basic training at the armored training center at Fort Knox, KY, instead of being assigned to an Infantry Division in line for the D-Day landings at Normandy, the 740th was shipped off to Patton’s Desert Training Center at a forlorn place called Bouse, AZ. The 740th trained at Camp Bouse for specialized desert tank warfare. By the time their training was complete, the desert fighting in Africa was over and the 740th was shipped back by train to Ft. Knox to await further orders. Finally in July of 1944, the 740th was shipped to England and, after spending time in camps in Wales and England, the 740th crossed the English channel in October of 1944 and landed at Omaha Beach. They moved across France to Belgium on verbal orders from the company commander earning them the code name “Daredevils”. They arrived in Belgium in November of 1944 shortly before the Battle of Bulge. When Hitler launched a surprise attack through the Ardennes Forest area of Belgium, the 740th was rushed up into the line to face the 1st SS Panzer Division led by the infamous Colonel Joachim Peiper. They stopped Peiper at Stoumont Station before he could reach the nearby gasoline dumps to re-fuel. The 740th was then in combat non-stop until VE day 1945 - serving mostly with the famed 82nd Airborne Division. In May of 1945, they crossed the Elbe River and met the Russian Army at the Baltic Sea as part of Simpson’s 9th US Army. After serving in the Occupation of Germany, George was ordered home in January of 1946. During his time in the 740th George served in Headquarters (HQ) Company as the driver for the commanding officer of the Assault Gun Platoon and later as the driver for the Battalion Commander. George often remarked that he got the job as driver due to his “cat eyes” that could see in the dark. For his service, George earned a World War II Victory ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theater Ribbon, the EAME Theater Ribbon and three bronze battle stars for the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe Campaigns. Over a span of 40 plus years, George enjoyed attending 740th Tank Battalion Reunions to visit with his Army buddies. He also made return trips to Fort Knox, Camp Bouse, Belgium, and Germany with the 740th Tank Battalion Association. He will be missed by his remaining comrades in arms and his many friends in the 740th Tank Battalion Association.
After returning from the war, George earned his GED and graduated from a local trade school. He worked at Tinker Air Force Base as a civilian machinist for 18 years. After taking early retirement from Tinker, he went into the real estate business buying, renovating and re-selling residential properties in the Oklahoma City area. He also owned rental properties in the Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. He owned and resided in downtown Oklahoma City at the Memory Lane apartments at 7th and N. Walker for many years. George was a parishioner of St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral in downtown Oklahoma City where he served for several years as an usher.
George also enjoyed attending many of the bi-annual family reunions held over the years. He attended reunions in Durango, CO; Sacramento, CA and a special one with the Illinois Donahue family in the Chatsworth and Chicago area. At that reunion, he was able to visit with family members that he had never met. In June of 2016, the family reunion was held in Oklahoma City. This was the last one he was able to attend.
In April of 2016, he moved from Oklahoma City to the Norman Veterans Center where he resided until his death.
George was preceded in death by his parents; five brothers, Thomas Lawrence, Edward James, Leo William, Lawrence Patrick and Paul Gregory and three sisters, Theresa Elizabeth, Veronica and Mary Patricia. George is survived by numerous nieces and nephews – too many to name.
Visitation for friends and family will be from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the Havenbrook Funeral Home in Norman. A Rosary Service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at St. Thomas More University Parish in Norman, OK followed by an Irish wake from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Friends and family are invited to the Rosary Service and the wake. A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Thomas More University Parish in Norman, OK with interment following at Resurrection Cemetery in Oklahoma City.
We will miss our dear Uncle George.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7