John Gerard Donnellan, born Sept. 23, 1937, was a thoughtful, outgoing, kind Irishman who went by many names: “Pan Am Jack,” “Grandpa,” “Jack,” “Sponsor,” “Union Rep” and “Uncle Jackie.” However, the descriptions of him remained constant: Dependable, Funny, Helpful, Intelligent, Frugal, Storyteller, Insightful, Trustworthy and Generous.
For most of the first 39 years of his life he was often many of those things, but he was also drunk. Then he went to an AA meeting. This began a lifetime of service: speaking at meetings, teaching DUI diversion classes and sponsoring others who asked for help. This was his passion, his calling. He went every day to a meeting because he loved the community and the people who were brave enough to share their soul with strangers. Even toward the end of his life, almost too weak to stand, he would gather the strength to get up at the end of meetings, hold hands with others and recite, “Keep coming back, it works, if you work it.”