Dorothy M. Donnery - mother of Jim Donnery who christened Guinan's "Little Chapel" - died April 2, 2012.
The night I first met Dorothy solidified my commitment to writing a book about Guinan's. She was as eclectic and smart and compelling a character as I've ever met. She loved the Hudson River - loved watching the tankers and the freighters go by. She worked along its shores at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point for 39 years. When Jim returned home to visit Guinan's on Friday nights, she'd always have a sandwich and vanilla milk shake ready for him. At Guinan's she'd sip the occasional Michelob Light, though gin and champagne were her drinks of choice. If she grew tired of the barroom banter, she'd slip out to the car where she kept a blanket and sleep.
Dorothy suffered no fools; her smile was contagious.
The family has asked that memorial donations may be made to a charity of one's choice.
John Guinan died last night after a long, and extraordinarily brave fight with brain cancer. He is survived by his wife Mary Jane, children Sean, Kelly and Casey, granddaughter Zoe, his siblings Margaret, Christine and Jimmy and his father Jim.
Your notes and calls to John over the past 18 months have meant more than you'll ever know. Rarely does someone hear such widespread affection from so many corners of the world. He deserved all of the love but took none of it for granted. And he changed many lives, my own included, in big and small ways.
The family will hold a wake from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday: Clinton Funeral Home 21 Parrott Street Cold Spring, NY 10516 (845) 265-3333
John's funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday: Our Lady of Loretto 24 Fair Street Cold Spring, NY 10516 (845) 265-3781
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to Braking the Cycle and Team Guinan. This link will take you directly to Team Guinan's donation page, or t…
We lost one of our parishioners, John J. "Jack" McAndrew - a founder of "Irish Night" at Guinan's - after his fight with lymphoma. He was 72. Jack is featured in the chapter "The Rising of the Moon" in Little Chapel on the River and at other points in the book. He was a friend to many in Guinan's green walls, and a teacher to those new to Irish music. Without fail, he'd play your favorite song without being asked. For me, that was The Wild Rover. With a nod, and wink, he would always launch in just as my hands were wrapping around the first cold Coors Light. I'll remember his smile and generosity as it swelled out from the dark room, dancing on the music that carried his spirit throughout the bar and beyond. You can read Jack's "My Reflections as Session Leader"essay about his time at Guinan's. Memorial donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society www.lls.org Photo courtesy Christine Ashburn.
"See, some people call this place here the bar. Others just call it Guinan's. I call it my riverside chapel." -- Jim Donnery, Winter 2001
His license plate said "Irishman." So it was fitting to first meet Jim in the green-walled pub of Guinan's. It was freezing outside, but warm in there. Jim made it warmer with his big booming voice that signaled friendship from the first word, even to a stranger. It happened to be me that night, tiptoeing into the sacred after-hours world of the little chapel for the first time, but I could have been anybody. That's just the way Jim was - he was kind. To people he knew, and those he didn't.
Jim was born on Christmas Eve in 1950 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, according to his obituary. When he was small, his Mom, Dorothy, would drive him down to the river banks to watch the tankers and freighters go by. Before Guinan's was Guinan's, his father as a kid used to row his boat across the river to buy candy and soda at …