JoAnn A. Donahue

August 21, 1934 - August 31, 2022


Obituary For JoAnn A. Donahue

Sun Prairie - JoAnn A. (Berends) Donahue, age 88, passed away on August 31, 2022. She was born on August 21, 1934 in Glenwood City, WI to Henry and Cecelia (Rosciszewski) Berends. JoAnn was born the youngest of 10 children and grew up on the family farm. She married Joseph Thomas “Tom” Donahue in 1955, and the two celebrated 66 years of marriage prior to Tom's passing in 2021.

JoAnn and Tom began their married life in Vadnais Heights, MN, before moving to Madison, WI, where they would raise their family. JoAnn dedicated much of her life to raising their 7 children and caring for their grandchildren as well. JoAnn's family was the light of her life and she was a selfless and devoted mother.

JoAnn enjoyed bowling, playing bridge, playing the slots, entertaining, and after dinner walks. But most of all, she enjoyed being surrounded by her family. JoAnn was a generous and compassionate volunteer, spending time serving meals at Luke House, delivering cards and flowers at St Mary's Hospital, collecting and delivering donations for local pantries, taking communion to the sick and many more acts of love and kindness.

Over the last 25 years, JoAnn was robbed of her physical freedom by Parkinson's Disease. What that didn't take from her, was her great sense of humor. She was the master of the one liners and loved to laugh until she cried.

JoAnn is survived by her children, Kathleen (Doug Hafeman), Madison, WI; Timothy (Kim), Corona del Mar, CA, Maureen (Dick) Smith, Rio, WI, Jeffrey (Rhonda), Windsor, WI, James, Madison, WI, Patrick (Jill Bottoni-Alioto), Lyme Ridge, WI, Kelly (Matt Schroedl), DeForest, WI; grandchildren, Amanda, Katherine, Mitchell, Ellen, Erin, Casey and Devin and great-grandson, Henry. She is further survived by sisters-in-law, Evie Berends, Marguerite Maloney, Helen Hintz and Helen (Riley) Donahue and dozens of nieces and nephews.

JoAnn was preceded in death by her husband, Tom Donahue; parents, Henry and Cecelia Berends; sisters, brother and brothers-in-law, Dolores (Harold) Lechner, Elaine (Hub) Cress, Adeline (Ralph) Larson, Adelaide (Lemoine) Brathal, Angeline (Melvin) Olson, Vivian (Cassius) Booth, Audrey (Willis) Smith, Francis “Slim” Berends, Arliss (Fred) Warmuth.

Thank you to the many nurses and doctors at SSM Health and SSM Hospice, who provided JoAnn with compassionate care since last November. Lastly, thank you to those who provided her daily care at Parkside and Talamore. We are forever grateful.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St Jude's Children's Hospital.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 23, 2022 at ST. MARY OF THE LAKE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5460 Mary Lake Road, Westport, with Monsignor James Gunn presiding. Visitation will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m., Thursday, September 22 at Ryan Funeral Home, 2418 N. Sherman Ave., Madison, as well as, one hour prior to the Mass from 10:00-11:00 a.m., Friday at the church. Interment will follow the Mass at St. Mary of the Lake Cemetery. To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services 2418 N. Sherman Avenue 608-249-8257


22 Sep


05:00 PM - 07:00 PM

Ryan Funeral Homes - Madison North East 2418 N. Sherman Avenue Madison, WI 53704 Get Directions »
23 Sep


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church 5460 Mary Lake Rd Waunakee, WI 53597 Get Directions »
23 Sep

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 AM

St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church 5460 Mary Lake Rd Waunakee, WI 53597 Get Directions »
by Obituary Assistant

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


  • 09/13/2022

    Uncle Tom and Aunt JoAnn's clan was a force to be reckoned with. 🙂 May her love, compassion, humor and generosity fill your hearts. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Dan and Sue Hoffman

  • 09/11/2022

    Fond memories of all the wonderful times spent with JoAnn and Tom raising our children on Namekagon Lane and Burningwood Way neighborhood. Jan and Howie Sampson

  • 09/11/2022

    Al and I are very sorry for your loss, sending prayers and love. Al & Sue Belanger


  • 5 TREES

    Dan & Pam Donahu planted 5 trees in memory of JoAnn A. Donahue . - September 16, 2022

Add a Candle

Click a candle below to add a candle to your message.

what our families say

Tiffany Foster went out of her way to fulfill all my requests, talked me through problems I was facing, and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible when I was a wreck, totally crushed, and I thank her with all of my heart for that.

James S. | July 2020

The professional manner of the staff made a difficult time a little easier.

Lynda R. | July 2020

Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

Michael M. | July 2020

Skyler was absolutely amazing. She was so caring and helpful through this whole process. She even went above and beyond to meet with us in DeForest and even to make a stop at our home to drop off or pick up anything needed. While it was a small gesture, it was so helpful and greatly appreciated.

Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

Madison North East

2418 N. Sherman Avenue
Madison, WI 53704
Tel: 608-249-8257

Madison West

5701 Odana Road
Madison, WI 53719
Tel: 608-274-1000


220 S. Enterprise Drive
Verona, WI 53593
Tel: 608-845-6625

DeForest / Windsor

6924 Lake Road
DeForest, WI 53532
Tel: 608-846-4250