Ed was born at the Margaret Hague Hospital in Jersey City (wasn’t everyone?), County Hudson, the 33rd Irish county. His father moved the family to Manasquan early in Ed’s life. He grew up there and graduated from St. Denis Grammar School in town and St. Rose High School in Belmar. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seton Hall University, and a Master of Administrative Science degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Ed gets his Irish ancestry from both sides of his family. John and Ann Donovan, his paternal great-grandparents, were both born in Ireland. They came to the U.S. in the mid 19th century. His paternal grandmother, Bridget Callahan was born in County Cork and came to the states at a very young age. She eventually met and married John Donovan (Jr.) and the family settled in Jersey City. When family members chided Bridget about her partiality, she would say that she, “… had nothing against anyone as long as they were Irish, Catholic, and a Democrat, not necessarily in that order.”
Edward Lane, his maternal grandfather was also born in the old sod. He arrived here in the mid 1800’s and eventually married Annie Murray, a first generation Irish American. The Lanes also settled in Jersey City.
Ed’s parents, Catherine “Kay” Lane and William “Bill” Donovan both came from large families, fourteen Lane children and ten Donovan kids. His dad and Ed’s paternal uncles had a recreational baseball team, the Donovan Association that played for years in Jersey City’s Pershing Field. Several of his maternal aunts, Anne, Peggy, and Martha Lane were very active in the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Jersey City. In fact, his Aunt Peggy once flew to Dublin to march in their St. Patrick’s Day Parade, boarded an SST immediately following that parade and flew to New York City to march there on the same day!
Bill Donovan worked for almost 50 years for Public Service Electric and Gas and retired as a division manager in the Commercial Division. In addition, Ed’s dad taught at Seton Hall University, St. Peter’s College, and was the co-founder of the St. Peter’s Institute of Industrial Relations. Bill was active in Little League and Cub Scouts as well as being an usher and trustee of St. Denis Parish. He also served as the Mayor of Manasquan from 1974 to 1982, and then served as a borough councilman from 1983 to 1986.
In addition to her full time career at home, Ed’s mom held several jobs after the children got older, but volunteerism was her passion. She was active in the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, P.T.A., Catholic Daughters and Altar Rosary Society to name a few.
Ed was the seventh of nine Donovan children, born after sisters Kathleen, Maureen and Colleen and brothers William, Jr., Walter and John. Brothers Joseph and Matthew followed shortly after Ed. All of Ed’s siblings, except for Kathy and Joe, stayed in New Jersey. Joe lived in Sonoma Co., CA for many years, and Kathy moved to North Carolina. Unfortunately, Kathy, William, Walter, John, Joe and Matt have passed away. Surely their Irish eyes are smiling down from heaven on Ed and the parade.
For almost 28 years Ed was a New Jersey State Trooper. At the beginning of his career he patrolled the highways of central Jersey as a uniformed trooper. He then became a station detective, investigating crimes from murder to shoplifting in towns served by the State Police. Ed retired as a Captain and Executive Officer of the Division’s Office of Professional Standards.
Ed got his penchant for public service from his parents. He followed his father’s advice, “Don’t complain unless you’re active and involved.” Just before he retired, Ed was approached by a couple of friends running for positions on the Manasquan governing body. They asked if he would be interested in running in the future. Shortly after retiring, Ed was offered the opportunity to run for borough council. He accepted the challenge and was elected to three terms on the Manasquan Borough Council. In November 2015 he was elected to a four year term as Mayor of the borough. He began this chapter of his life on January 1, 2016.
Behind every good man is a great woman. His wife, Jane joined the Donovan clan more than 20 years ago. Jane loves to volunteer. She is a member of the Manasquan Tourism Commission, Environmental Commission, Board of Health, and the Women of Irish Heritage of the Jersey Shore. She was completely shocked when she was elected 2015 Deputy Grand Marshal of the Belmar/Lake Como parade.
Jane and Ed became involved in the Belmar/Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade almost 14 years ago. After retiring, Jane walked the boards in Belmar daily with a group of friends. She and her friends solved all the world’s problems while socializing at the Dunkin Donuts on Ocean Ave.. That’s where she met Dave Stanley. Dave immediately drafted Jane and her friends into the Parade Committee. For many years the “Dunkin Donuts Girls” (AKA “Section C Girls”) lined up marchers in Section C on parade day. Ed was drafted to help and eventually became a member of the committee. In 2013 Ed was pressed into service as the parade starter when Larry Walsh, the long time and current starter, was elected to be the Grand Marshal. Ed and Jane are still members of the Parade Committee and Ed serves on the Executive Board.
Ed is a member of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh of the Jersey Shore, the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of the Jersey Shore, Manasquan Elks Lodge 2534, Monmouth County 200 Club, N J Blue Knights XV, N. J. League of Municipalities, and the N. J. Conference of Mayors. He has been the municipal chair of Paint the Town Pink for the past several years and is a member of the Shore Community Alliance. In his free time Ed enjoys playing at golf, fishing, boating and riding his motorcycle.
Deputy Grand Marshal:
Miriam was born in Dublin’s Coombe Hospital to Jack (a New Yorker) & Pauline Farrell in the summer of 1961. The middle child of five children, her brothers and sister (Rory, Brendan, Ruth & Barry) have long since forgiven their parents. Miriam was that terrible middle child, a terror in the neighborhood. In a land where all home mail comes in through the letterbox in the front door, Miriam would sit and wait for the mail. One day the mailman took a little bit too long to release it and left with a savaged pinky. The next letter Mom and Dad received, this time pitched through the letterbox, was from the Post Office asking that they restrain their dog. Neighborhood gardeners were no luckier with their green thumbs when one day she went skipping down their street pulling the tops off all the tulips in the neighbors’ gardens.
With her tulip toping days behind her the teenage Miriam headed to Kylemore Abbey boarding school in County Galway. The family mailman breathed a sigh of relief and Miriam began a new adventure. Active in basketball, field hockey, hurdles & the school track team she put much of her energy into winning medals and trophies while representing the school. Graduating in 1979 Miriam left Klyemore Abbey with her HS Diploma (The Leaving Certificate in Ireland) and the lifelong friendships she’d formed with her Irish and American classmates.
After graduation Miriam, now Mims, worked as a nurse’s assistant before going to Francine Fay College where she got her associates as an Aesthetician. The ensuing years saw her working and volunteering. Always conscious of social responsibility she has fundraised for such causes as Homelessness, Unmarried Mothers and The Poor of Dublin. She’s worked with Special Needs Children. Mims says that her volunteerism was first learned at home. For example, growing up her parents would host 2 or 3 children from the local orphanage each Christmas. In the Farrell home, family values were not just talked about, they were lived.
Mims married her husband, John in 1985. In 1987 the couple, their 2 year old toddler Mark and new born Scott immigrated to the United States. In 1990 their daughter Zoe would become the second New Yorker in Mims family tree. Like all immigrant families, establishing themselves in a new country was a challenge but they triumphed despite the difficulties. While John worked to build his business, Euro Space Craft, and coached soccer in the evenings, Mims was his office admin, secretary and booking agent. In her evenings and weekends she was of course, a soccer Mom.
Mims has worked as a bank teller and medical & dental receptionist. Her spirit of volunteerism is still alive and well today. She was a member of The St Thomas Women’s Club in Old Bridge, where she fundraised for the church, the poor and the elderly. She’s worked the bingo in Summerhill nursing. Mims has baked hundreds if not thousands of Saint Patrick’s Day soda breads at the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh over the years and when John was President helped him with the numerous fundraisers. She has supported the Parade Committee at countless events over the years. Her smiling face is oft times the first one you’ll see if you attend a Parade Fundraiser.
“In 2014 when John had the honor of being the Grand Marshal, our family was so proud to join him in the walk down Dave Stanley Avenue. I can’t believe that this honor has now been passed to me, and when I walk this time I’ll have my 1 year old granddaughter Ella at my side. Am I not blessed.” Miriam (Mims) Sheridan.