Friday, April 16, 2021


Michael J. Donato


Michael J. “Papa D” “Big Mike” Donato, 74, of North Haven, passed away on Feb. 22 at Yale New Haven Hospital.

He was the beloved husband of 53 years to his high school sweetheart, Burnette Ruggiero Donato. In their early years, the couple could be seen cruising in his classic Corvette all over New England as members of the Corvette Club. More recently those cruises were replaced by daily Dunkin’ runs and local escapes to their favorite park bench at Fort Nathan Hale, where they shared laughter and fed the birds.

After high school, Michael joined the Army National Guard to proudly serve his country during the Vietnam War. Later he was a member of the North Haven Police Department until an early retirement. Friends may also recall his numerous years as a buyer at Chase Waste Material Corporation in New Haven, where he was a friendly face welcoming customers from behind his desk.

Michael’s true heart, however, belonged to his family. His greatest joy was caring for his beloved wife and celebrating the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren. Whether preparing a lavish family feast or watching his grandkids from the sidelines, his smile and pride was unparalleled.

Mike’s loving family consists of his daughter Burnette Ann Donato and son Michael Richard Donato. He will forever be Pop Pop to Matteo S., Michael A., and Marco M. Donato. He is survived by his sister Ann (Peachy) Chadderton and numerous nieces, nephews, and all those he embraced as his “other kids.”

Always a compassionate man, Michael was a member of The Sons and Daughters of Italy, a parishioner of St. Therese Church, and a generous benefactor to numerous local and national charities.

The visiting hours will be from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Feb. 27, at The Havens Family, North Haven Funeral Home, 36 Washington Avenue. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at noon in St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish at St. Barnabas Church, 44 Washington Avenue, North Haven. Interment with full military honors will follow in All Saints Cemetery.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101-9929 or The Lakota Sioux St. Joseph’s Indian School, 1301 North Main Street, Chamberlain, SD 57325 or visit For his online obituary, please visit

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