Joseph L. Donnelly, Jr

Born March 17, 1929
Retired April 1, 1994
Passed Away February 8, 2014

Joseph L. Donnelly, Jr., 84, of Beaumont, died Saturday, February 8, 2014, at Harbor Hospice, Beaumont.

He was the Chairman, President and CEO of Gulf States Utilities Co. In 1994, when GSU merged with Entergy Corp, he was vice chairman and a Director of Entergy for a time after the merger. Joseph was welcomed to this world in Scranton, Pennsylvania, by his parents, Joseph L. and Irene Dougher Donnelly; and his sister, Mary; on March 17, 1929. He grew up in Archbald, Pennsylvania, attending the local schools and graduating from Archbald High School in 1946. He attended the University of Scranton on a scholarship and earned his degree with honors in 1950. Joseph was elected to Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit Honor Society, and was editor in chief of the student newspaper. He attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia on a scholarship and received his Juris Doctor Degree there with honors in 1950. At the law school, he was an editor of the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Following law school, he was appointed law secretary to Chief Justice Charles Alvin Jones of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Joseph was admitted to practice before the several federal and state courts in Pennsylvania, and was a member of the American, Pennsylvania and Lackawanna County Bar Associations.

In 1955, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania in the Department of Justice in Harrisburg, where he had responsibility for coordinating the legal affairs of the Commonwealth, Highway, and Military Affairs Departments together with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Joseph joined Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1958 as assistant counsel and served there in various positions until he was named Vice President - Finance in 1975.

He joined Gulf States Utilities Company in Beaumont, Texas, in 1979 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Joseph was subsequently elected a Director of GSU and in 1992; he was named Chairman, President and CEO of the Company. He had an active participation in business, industry and community affairs. At various times he served as President of the Allentown (Pennsylvania) State Hospital; founding Chairman of the Lehigh County (Pennsylvania) MH/MR Board; President of the Public Health Nursing Service of Lehigh County, PA.; Advisory Director of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and an Advisory Director of Baptist Hospital, Beaumont; and as a director of Beaumont State Bank and later as an advisory director of First City Bank, Beaumont. He was an avid reader of history and biography, an inveterate traveler (having visited more than 100 countries), an accomplished musician and an enthusiastic golfer.

He is preceded in death by his parents; and his sister, Mary Lenahan.

He leaves to survive him his widow, the love of his life and closest friend, Lynn Haakonsen Donnelly; three sons and six grandchildren: David C. Donnelly and his wife; Patricia; and their children; Sarah, Lilah Irene, and David Donnelly, all of Johns Creek, Georgia; Dr. Joseph L. Donnelly III, and Heather Donnelly and their children; Joseph L. IV, Allison; and Robert Donnelly, all of Austin; and Haakon T. Donnelly, Esq. of Dallas. He is also survived by his loyal Scottish terrier, Bridget.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers and many acts of kindness, compassion, and encouragement offered during his lengthy illness.

A Rosary for Mr. Donnelly will be recited at 5:00 p.m., gathering of his family and friends to follow, with a Christian Vigil at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, February 12, 2014, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 13, 2014, at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 6825 Gladys Avenue, Beaumont. A family committal will be at Broussard’s Crematorium, Beaumont.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Wounded Warriors Project, 4899 Beifort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida 33256 or to a charity of one’s choice.

Click here for the Broussards Mortuary site
Photo No. 1865

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