Joseph E. “Joe” Donahue

Joseph E. “Joe” Donahue, age 88, of Dubuque, completed his earthly journey on April 6, 2021, at UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital.  To honor Joe’s life, his graveside service will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. at Mount Calvary Cemetery, 1111 Davis Street in Dubuque, where full military honors will be accorded by the Dubuque Marine Corps League.  The Tri-State Cremation Center is humbly serving Joe’s family.


Joe was born on October 22, 1932, in Waukon Junction, Iowa, a son to Edward and Violet (Sawvell) Donahue.  Joe obtained his primary education in the Harper Valley Schools and spent his early years working at home and on neighboring farms until he went on to honorably serve his country with the U.S. Army during the Korean War.  Upon returning home, Joe was blessed to meet his soul-mate, Elizabeth “Betty” Arthofer, and the two were united in marriage on January 28, 1956, at Holy Ghost Church.  Joe committed his working years for his family to John Deere, where he continually displayed the strong work ethic which he had developed from a young age.  In his free-time, Joe was best known for his coon hunting skills and dogs.  Always working to bring the best out of himself and his dogs, Joe still displays rows of trophies to help revisit those wonderful days gone by.  Joe also enjoyed stock car racing and spent many years following his son from racetrack to racetrack to cheer him on.  But, honestly, Joe is best known for being a devoted husband and father.  Loyal, kind, and generous are words which also easily and accurately describe our dear Joe.  We will miss his gentle spirit, grateful attitude, and effortless role-modeling he perfected so well.  Thank you, Joe, for simply being the best man you could be and for showing us that anything in this life is possible if we just put a little effort in ourselves.  We hope that your heavenly reunion has been the most joyful event you’ve ever experienced, and may the Lord keep you safe in His loving arms until we all meet again. 


Those left behind to cherish the memory of Joe include,


his son,

Roger Donahue;


his daughter-in-law,

Debbie Freking;


his grandchildren,

Trevor Donahue, Tanner Donahue, Mike McDonald, and Jennifer Donahue;


his great-grandchildren,

Jordan Donahue and Jayden Donahue;


his siblings,

Jim Donahue,

Jerry Donahue,

Marjorie (James) Trewnick,

Monica (James) Edgar,

Margaret (John) Elin,

Madonna Walsh,

Maureen (David) Graeber,

and Marilyn (Lyle) Kenney;


a special nephew, Dale;


along with numerous extended family, friends, and neighbors.


Joe was preceded in death by his parents; his loving wife, Betty Donahue; 2 sons, Jim Donahue and Mike Donahue; and his siblings, Edward “Buzzy” Donahue, John Donahue, Mary (Merlin) Troendle, and Marcella (John) Palade.


Joe’s family would like to thank the nurses and staff at Finley Hospital, the E.R. Department, and St. Croix Hospice for all of their professional and compassionate care of Joe, and his family.  We would also like to extend a most sincere thank you to our dear friend and neighbor, Jerome, for all of his care and support throughout these difficult days.  May God bless all of you for your generosity and kindness.


Online condolences may be shared with Joe’s family at

Burial with Military Honors

Mount Calvary Cemetery
1111 Davis Street, Dubuque, Iowa, 52001
April 13th, 2021 at 2:00 PM

3 comments on “Joseph E. “Joe” Donahue
  1. Beverly Gourley says:

    I am so sorry to read about your father’s passing. My family lived on Drexel St. right next to your family. My dad and your dad used to have great conversations. We knew your mom and Jimmy and Michael (I was older than them but definitely remember them.) My two younger sisters probably knew the boys better. Your dad was a great guy! You have my sincerest sympathy for your loss.

  2. John Donahue says:

    Rest in peace Uncle Joe. Condolonces to the family.

  3. Jeff & Barbie Miller says:

    We are so sorry to hear of Joe’s passing. Please accept our sympathy and prayers.

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