Gerard Anthony O'Donovan

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Gerard Anthony O'Donovan was born to Jeremiah and Nellie O'Donovan (nee Cullinane) in a small bungalow in Cononagh, near Leap, County Cork, Ireland, on November 28, 1937. After attending The Mall School locally, Gerard attended secondary school at Good Counsel College in New Ross, Ireland. He next earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Dairy Science from University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland. In the fall of 1961, Gerard left Ireland for the United States where, with a scholarship, he began his doctoral work in Bacteriology at the University of California, Davis, under the tutelage of John L. Ingraham. After earning his Ph.D. in 1966, he next did post doc work at the University of California, Berkeley, with John Gerhart, where he began his lifelong study of pyrimidine metabolism and in particular aspartate transcarbamylase.

In 1968 Gerard and his then wife Donna Donovan (nee Grosso) and their first son Brian moved to College Station, TX, where Gerry started work at Texas A & M University in both the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Department of Genetics. His second son Kevin was born in 1971. While at Texas A & M until 1983, Gerry published numerous papers, earned two teaching awards, and founded and organized for many years the Gulf Coast Microbiology Conference held annually in Corpus Christi and later in Kerrville. Gerry next embarked on a sabbatical year in 1983/84 with Paul Broda at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. Following the encouragement of Dr. Roland Vela, he then became Chair of Biological Sciences at North Texas State University, now University of North Texas, from 1984 until 2001. When he stepped down Gerry continued to teach Microbiology and train numerous Master's and Ph.D. students up until late 2013, training over 200 studen!


Gerry enjoyed teaching, reading, crossword puzzles, horse racing, and coaching kid's soccer and baseball among many other things. He is one of four siblings. His brother John Finbarr "Barry" and wife Delia preceded him in death. He is survived by his former spouse Donna; his brother Brian and sister Finola and their respective spouses Breda and Tom; his two sons, Brian and Kevin and Kevin's spouse Jee Hae and grandchildren Niamh and Sean; and his longtime friend and companion Debrah Beck as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

-Níl luibh ná leigheas in aghaidh an bháis.

There is no herb or medicine against death.

-Fásann níos mó i ngort ná mar a chuirtear ann.

More grows in a field than is planted there; children are individuals.

-Is é an dias is troime is ísle a chromann a ceann.

The heaviest ear of corn is the one which bows its head lowest; really talented people are usually modest.

Visitation will be at Mulkey-Mason Funeral Home, 705 N. Locust St., Denton, TX, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday February 23, 2014, followed by a celebration of his life at the UNT Environmental Sciences building, 1704 W. Mulberry, Denton, TX, from 2 - 4 p.m.

On line condolences may be made at .

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