John A. Donahoo, Sr.

March 4, 1949 - February 4, 2022

Memorial Gifts & Donations

John Arthur Donahoo Sr. left his earthly bonds to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on February 4, 2022.

He was the second son of Ervon Gee and Felicia Grace (Tomasino) Donahoo who preceded him to Heaven along with his older brother William John (survived by Vicki). He is survived by two brothers Stephen John (Carolyn) and David John (Buffy). The brothers were Navy brats and loved telling stories of their time in the jungle of Panama (being chased by a wild boar), stealing a piñata at a kids birthday party (the planning they put into this! ) or holding two melons to their chest and walking behind the movie screen – OH MY – What a shadow-  and many other antics.

John was born April 4, 1949 in Gitmo Bay, Cuba. He attended St. Pius School until he was kicked off the bus for playing Jesus (after hearing the resurrection story). He then attended Azalea Middle and Norview High graduating in 1969.  Looking for adventure, John joined the Marine Corps. For some reason he loved jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

John joined the Norfolk Police Department as an undercover Narcotics officer in March 1976. While undercover he met his future wife Pamela Sue Hoffman.  They enjoyed 45 years together. They have one daughter, Jessica Anne Novak (Shaun) and a daughter they “chose” Jade Haylee Carmichael (Kimberly).

John was also blessed with a son from his first marriage to Nell Buckelew Armstrong; John Arthur Donahoo Jr. (Abigail).

While a police officer John served in just about every division.  He gave 30 years to the City of Norfolk.  He enjoyed going to work every day with the hope of making our city a better place.

John also had a love for softball.  He began as an assistant coach for Krispy Kreme in 1989.  Then in 1993 he took over as coach for Jessica’s team the “Roosevelt Guardians”. In 1996 they won the title of 2nd in the state. They won 79 games straight. John also coached the team in Fall Ball as the “Lady Angels” and took them as a tournament team.  What a coach!  What a team!  What a plan Jesus had – now John is a “Guardian Angel”. He was so proud of these girls.

After retiring, John worked for the Sheriff’s Dept., Sentara and EVMS.

John leaves behind four grandchildren whom he loved dearly. James Novak (Duke), Tanner (Tanner-man), Joshua and Jane Donahoo. One great granddaughter Valerie Novak.  Also his nieces Felicia and Susan and nephews Stephen, Sean, Brandon and Jason.

A special thanks to At Heart Hospice and Homecare and to our friend and advocate Dianne Sexton.

John had a loving and giving heart so in lieu of flowers please do a random act of kindness and tell that person to pass it on.

Due to covid an online service will be held February 19th at 3:00pm in a Zoom format.

2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting

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Ray Pettway
1 year ago

John and I worked together on the NPD in the Second Patrol, K-9 and ERT. He always had a sense of humor and you could always count on him. I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family, during this difficult time.

R. Pavese
1 year ago

I was a rookie working around Officer Donahoo at the “old” Second for several years prior to his retirement. He was always kind and always kept his appearance sharp complete with class “A” hat, crossed pistol whistle hook, and whistle hanging off the breast pocket. Until we meet again sir.

C. Peck
1 year ago

I work for the NPD and just read this obituary through inter-department mail. What a neat life, and the city was so blessed to have him! Thinking of the family at this time.

Stanley & Cheryl Levinson
1 year ago

We just got back from the funeral for my daughter-in-law in N.C. who passed from Brain Cancer and got the e-mail about you and we were shocked needless to say. Our condolences to your family. We had many great times working together and cheated death on a few of them times. Rest easy my Brother and I will see you on the other side……..

Tony Cox
1 year ago

I have fond memories working with John in the 1st Precinct Tac Squad and Traffic. He was a “solid” cop and had your back! A true American with a great sense of humor. Another sad loss. Rest In Peace brother.

Nelson Smith
1 year ago

Condolences from my family to John’s family. We first met John back when we first formed the Bromley Civic League in the early 90s. He was a great help with our neighborhood watch program and we considered him a good friend. I lost touch with him after we moved to Chesapeake in 1998 but often do think of him every time I pass by Roosevelt Gardens. Thank you for your dedicated service, John.

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