There was laughter, memories, appreciation, music, and a buffet dinner at the Shore Casino Saturday afternoon as more than 150 friends and family gathered as guests of the Donoghue family to celebrate the life of Peter Donoghue,. Former mayor, councilman, churchman, journalist, army veteran, board of education member and so much more.
Peter E. Donoghue died Feb. 2, 2022 at the age of 81, and his widow, Louise, wanted to share her family’s thoughts and show appreciation to her friends and neighbors about her husband of 55 years.
And what a celebration it was.
With son Steve serving as master of ceremonies and the first in a series of speakers who recalled with fondness the many different phases of his dad’s life, Steve recalled his father’s joy, especially with music, a joy that included the entire family. He left a legacy of love, Steve told the guests, noting his own son and two other grandchildren who profited from a grandfather’s love. Steve recalled humorous incidents in the lives of the Donoghue family, thanks to the senior Donoghue’s penchant to try the unusual, be a bit daring, and taking chances.
In contrast, the Rev. Guy Millard, the minister who played a major role in Peter’s life, was brief and simply reminded the gathering to give thanks for the gift of Peter in all their lives in the invocation.
Son John also spoke about his thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity to all and noted his father “cared about the world” and always wanted to be there to help everyone.
Former Councilman Peter Doyle, Commander of the American Legion Post 141, spoke on the deceased soldier’s dedication not only to the army during his years in service, but also to his work as a Legionnaire, noting that Peter has been “called to a higher command.” Doyle introduce Bill Pointon, the post’s chaplain, who led a prayer before all the legion members present at the repast went up to say a final farewell and salute to their fallen friend and comrade.
Local historian, family friend and colleague Victor Zak spoke of his years working with Peter at the Asbury Park Press, the newspaper where Peter was night editor for many years, and the last of the many newspapers for which he had been a reporter, from the Atlantic Highlands Journal and Highlands Star to the Press. Zak described the journalist as a professional you could trust to get the story correct and complete.
Former borough attorney Janice Miller-Gaudio was borough attorney in the early part of the 20th century when Peter served on the borough council and spoke of her time meeting him and working with him on municipal business. Councilwoman Lori Hohenleitner expressed her own appreciation for Peter’s talent and devotion as an elected official.
Democratic Party Municipal Chairman Regina Hawley-Keelen sent regrets and love, with apologies for not being able to be present because of a sudden illness while traveling back for the celebration. But there were even more memories and a few tears as son John joined his mother in singing “Those were the Days,” a favorite song for the senior Donoghues.
The Rev. Guy Millard gave the benediction and members of the St. Agnes Choir where Louise also sang led the crowd in singing “Let there be Peace on Earth.”