The Obit For James Donahue

James Keefe Donahue

Published in The Boston Globe on June 26, 2011

DONAHUE, James Keefe President & CEO of Industrial Shows of America Inc. until 1998, producer of the International Auto Show and the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show, died Wednesday, June 23 at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Towson, MD.

The Lutherville resident was 88. Mr. Donahue was born in Arlington, MA on May 29, 1923. He graduated from Belmont High School in 1942.

On March 8, 1943 at 19 years old, he enlisted in the army from Hartford Connecticut. Donahue was given a field commission in World War II when, as an enlisted man, he established a road block and fought off the advance of a Nazi element in the Battle of the Bulge.

He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. Second Lieutenant Donahue was discharged from the Army on the 25th of February, 1946, at Camp Beale, California.

Returning home, Donahue became a professional umpire for Minor League Baseball until he was recalled for The Korean War as a Second Lieutenant on February 3, 1951, where he was awarded A Silver Star for gallantry in action.

His citation reads as follows: "First Lieutenant James K. Donahue (then Second Lieutenant), Infantry, United States Army, a member of Company F, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, displayed gallantry in action on 24 December 1951 in Kumgong-ni, Korea. On that date, Lieutenant Donahue, a platoon leader was given the mission to lead his unit in an assault on a key terrain feature held by a determined hostile force.

In the ensuing action fanatical enemy resistance from several bunkers temporarily stalled the advance of the friendly elements. Lieutenant Donahue, realizing the seriousness of the situation, moved out alone and advanced fearlessly toward the foe's emplacement, firing his weapon with deadly accuracy, inflicting numerous casualties on the foe. Inspired by this example of bravery under fire, his men rose as one and resumed their attack until the objective was secured.

The foe then launched a heavy concentration of mortar fire on the friendly elements in their newly won positions but as a result of Lieutenant Donahue's direction and encouragement his men tenaciously maintained their emplacements. Lieutenant Donahue's initiative and aggressive leadership were major factors in the successful completion of the mission. The gallantry in action displayed by Lieutenant Donahue on this occasion reflects the highest credit upon himself and the military service."

Mr. Donahue received an honorable discharge in June, 1952 and remained a Reserve Commissioned Officer in the Officers Reserve Corp. in the Army of the United States in the grade of First Lieutenant until December 2, 1955.

Returning home to Boston, Donahue worked for the Thomas Edison Dictaphone Company selling mobile Dictaphone equipment. In 1954, Donahue took players from the Boston Celtics, including legendary basketball players Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, on a tour across the country.

In 1956, he opened his own PR Agency and worked in conjunction with the Boston Herald Traveler to produce numerous trade shows in the greater Boston market. In 1974 Mr. Donahue relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. He founded Industrial Shows of America, Inc., which produced the Baltimore Industrial Show, the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show, the International Auto Show and 25 other Industrial and Machine Tool shows throughout the United States and Mexico.

The company was sold to Penton Media in 1998, at which time it was the largest privately owned trade show company in the United States.

Mr. Donahue retired in 1998 and spent his time between his home in Lutherville, MD and Cape Cod. He enjoyed golf with friends and especially with his grandchildren.

Mr. Donahue is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jean Morrison Donahue, his daughters Janice Donahue and Susan Donahue Cross, his son-in-law Charles E. Cross III and his grandchildren Charles Nicholas Cross and James Colin Cross. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery later this summer.