The Rev. Alice L. O'Donovan

The Rev. Alice L. O'Donovan

Passed on Tuesday, 08 November 2022
The Rev. Alice L. O'Donovan passed away on November 8, 2022 surrounded by her family.  She was a member of the Storrs Congregational Church.  She is survived by her partner of forty-two years Cass Crewdson, her brother Bob Lilly and his partner Joan Dennis; her three children, Robert O’Donovan, Stephen O’Donovan and Dr. Mary O’Donovan, their spouses and six grandchildren. 

Alice spent her first years growing up on a small farm on the idyllic shores of Lake Champlain in Willsboro, NY, and she continued to return to Willsboro for summer vacations throughout her life. Alice moved to the rural town of Ashfield, MA while in elementary school, where she continued to develop her love of animals and nature, graduating from the Sanderson Academy in a class of twelve students. 

Alice studied recreation management at the University of Massachusetts and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. She served as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Norwich, CT, and was an Assistant Camp Director at Camp Laurel, a Girl Scout camp in Lebanon, CT.  Before being called to ministry in the early 1980s, Alice took on a myriad of jobs to provide for her family, including cutting firewood, apple picking, dairy farming and bartending, all of which contributed to her unique perspective as a minister and counselor.

Alice began her formal theological training at Hartford Seminary with a Master of Religious Studies degree, and then completed her Master of Divinity degree at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA.  Being true to herself, Alice was the first openly gay person to become an ordained minister by the United Church of Christ in Connecticut in 1988. And true to her roots, she was committed to serving small churches in New England.  She served eleven churches in Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut, retiring earlier this year as interim pastor at the Church of the Good Shepherd in West Woodstock, CT. 

Alice will forever be remembered for her bravery and tireless compassion in her ministry and mentoring.  She was a leader in the LGBTQ community, welcoming, accepting and including ALL to the church and her services. She could identify, give praise and celebrate God’s presence in everyday life, particularly in nature. She operated her home and her heart with an open-door policy, where there was no place to sit but all were warmly welcome. 

Calling hours will be November 19th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Potter Funeral Home, located at 456 Jackson Street in Willimantic, CT. A celebration of Alice’s life will be held on November 20th from 4:00 to 5:00 pm at Storrs Congregational Church, located at 2 North Eagleville Road in Storrs, CT.  A reception will follow. 

Alice was an eminently practical person. In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring her memory with a contribution to one of her favorite organizations:
•    Razom (Together) for Ukraine: 
•    Heifer International: 
•    Habitat for Humanity: 

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