Metro-East News

Caseyville Township supervisor-elect dies before taking office

Richard Donovan
Richard Donovan

The Caseyville Township supervisor elect has died after complications of a heart valve replacement surgery.

Richard Donovan, who defeated current township supervisor Bruce Canty in April’s election, was scheduled to be sworn on May 15, along with other trustees, township staff said.

“He was so excited,” his widow, Debbie Donovan, said. “He wanted to make changes in the community.”

Donovan, 66, had a heart valve replacement procedure done on April 20, which led to several complications, including the need for a double bypass, a blood clot and low platelets, Debbie Donovan said.

After the surgery, Richard Donovan was in the hospital for 10 days. He died Sunday.

His doctor had advised him to have a procedure done sooner, but he didn’t want to do anything before the April election, Debbie Donovan said.

So he was told to do no physical labor and they stayed low-key at home, Debbie Donovan said.

Richard Donovan battled with Canty in recent years. He was among the trustees to lower the salary of the township supervisor. Donovan, along with township Clerk David Jackewitz, also found a cake tin containing computer hard drives in a cabinet in a township storage room. The hard drives were then subject to a police investigation that concluded there was no impropriety.

Debbie Donovan said her husband had ideas to provide activities for youth in the community. “He was a giving, caring person,” Debbie Donovan said.

Donovan said when people had a mechanical question, people would call Richard Donovan and he would talk them through how to fix the issue.

“The man could do anything,” she said.

Fixing cars was his hobby, including the restoration of 1957 red Chevy.

Brent Donovan, Richard’s son, said he will remember his father’s humor.

“He was always cutting jokes, making everyone laugh,” Brent Donovan said. “He was rarely serious ... and when he was it always ended with a laugh.”

Brent Donovan also learned about about fixing things from his father, including furnaces, water heaters and air conditioners.

“He could fix anything you put in front of him,” Brent Donovan said.

Donovan had served as a communications cryptologic technician in the U.S. Navy, according to his obituary. He also worked for St. Clair County Public Building Commission for 30 years. Donovan also had served as a trustee for Caseyville Township before being elected supervisor.

As for Richard Donovan’s replacement, Debbie Donovan said she has expressed interest in filling the position.

“I’d like to carry on with his plans,” Debbie Donovan said. “I just feel like I don’t want everything to get lost.”

The decision will have to be settled by the township trustees.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter