donovan Francis and Helen Donovan celebrated their 70th anniversary on May 24, 2010, at the Loretto Health and Rehabilitation Center in Syracuse, with family, friends and staff from the 5th floor of the Cunningham skilled nursing building. Loretto therapeutic recreation specialist, Laura Stevenson, baked the couple a sheet cake decorated with red roses, while Harriet “Digger” Deiter, also a Loretto therapeutic recreation specialist, serenaded the couple with loves songs accompanied on the ukulele.

Natives of Syracuse, the Donovans first met at Syracuse Central High School. Francis asked Helen a question about a homework assignment, and together they say, “The rest is history.” Francis served in the Army and Helen worked as a waitress.

They spent their years together raising their sons, John Donovan, of Cazenovia, and the late Robert Donovan, traveling to Washington, D.C., and visiting their son’s camp in West Virginia. They now enjoy watching the news, visiting with family, sharing meals and going to church.
The Donovans say their secret to 70 years of marital happiness is, “giving a little, taking a little, and keeping the love strong.”

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