A memorial service will be held Thursday, 2/25, for John Donnelly,
a prominent psychiatrist from West Hartford who lectured frequently
about social ills while chief of the Institute of Living from
1965 to 1979.
"John Donnelly was one of the great figures in psychiatry. Working for him and being taught by him was a demanding experience, but one that was made worthwhile and tolerable by his enormous humanity," said Austin McCawley of West Hartford, a longtime colleague and friend.
Dr. Donnelly, who died Thursday, 2/18, at age 84, was born and educated in England. He received his medical degree from the University of Liverpool Medical School in 1938 and began his training tin psychiatry in London at the end of World War II.
He received his degree in psychological medicine in 1948, and a year later joined the staff of the Institute of Living in Hartford. In 1956, he was appointed medical direct. Dr. Donnelly became the institute's psychiatrist-in-chief and chief executive officer in 1965, titles he held until his retirement in 1979. He remained active as senior consultant until 1984.
Dr. Donnelly belonged to numerous professional associations, including the American Psychiatric Association.
While psychiatrist-in-chief and medical director of the Institute of Living, Dr. Donnelly lectured regularly about societal problems ranging from racial division to the proliferation of mind-altering drugs.
"He was a very energized person. He was very much involved in a lot of associations, and he was able to be because he was a quick read on just about anything he picked up," said Martin Reznikoff of Stamford, former head of the psychology department at the Institute of Living. "In addition to being an excellent administrator and conceptualizer, he was also a very fine clinician."
Dr. Donnelly had an interest in forensic psychiatry and was called on several times to help police and trial lawyers. In September 1968, for example, he told Hartford police how to defuse a 28-year-old man who had threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend during a standoff at a Main Street restaurant.
Academically, Dr. Donnelly received many awards, was associated with Trinity College, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and Yale University School of Medicine.
Survivors include his wife, Mabel Donnelly of West Hartford; a daughter, Dr. Mavis J. Donnelly of Arizona; and a son, Dr. James M. Donnelly of Leads, Mass. The memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, 2/22, at St. John's Episcopal Church in West Hartford.
There are no calling hours. Burial will be private.
From the Hartford, CT "Hartford Courant"
Monday, Feb 22, 1999