2017-09-07 / Obituaries

Christiane de Vitry d'Avaucourt Donahue, 90, Teacher & Photojournalist

Christiane de Vitry d’Avaucourt Donahue, a teacher and photojournalist who was proudest of her career as mother of six children, died August 30, 2017 at home of complications from a stroke. She was 90 years old.

 Mrs. Donahue taught French in the public schools of Washington, D.C., at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and in adult schools in Mountain Lakes and Montville, N.J. She worked as a translator for the National Catholic Welfare Conference liaison to the United Nations in New York.

 Mrs. Donahue worked with her husband, John C. Donahue Jr., to establish The Northfield Transcript here and the Braintree Sunday Forum in Braintree, Mass., and was both papers’ chief photographer. She was manager of the Boonton, N.J., Times-Bulletin and worked in Paris for the French news magazine, Réalités.

 Marie Maurice Christiane de Vitry d’Avaucourt was born Jan. 16, 1927, at the Château de la Rafette in St. Loubès, France, near Bordeaux, the daughter of the then Count and Countess Pierre de Vitry d’Avaucourt. The château was the ancestral home of the countess, Anne, a member of the Henry de la Blanchetai family.

 Count de Vitry gave up his title when he became an American citizen.

 He brought his family to the United States during World War II. They landed in New York the day after Pearl Harbor. He had been active in the granite and marble industries and sold an invention, a wire saw, to major firms in Northfield, Barre and Proctor. His saw replaced the old Morse reciprocating saw that has long been associated with granite finishing in Northfield.

 Mrs. Donahue was a graduate of Kenwood Academy of the Sacred Heart in Albany, N.Y., attended Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in New York and was graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington with a bachelor of science degree in linguistics. She also was graduated with honors from the Université de Paris with an advanced diplôme d’études de Civilisation Française. She did graduate work at the University of Southern Maine.

 At one time or another, she lived in Bainbridge, Pa., New York City, Burlington, Vt., Manchester, N.H., Washington, Braintree, Mass., Mountain Lakes, N.J., Dover, N.H., and Lafayette, Ind.. as well as in France.

 She married her husband in Paris in 1953. He died on October 4, 2008.

 She is survived by three sons, John III of Denville, N.J., Pierre M. of Takoma Park, MD and Marc T.C. of Monticello, Ind.; three daughters, Anne de la B. of Northfield, Christiane K. of Boston and Mayalen of Anderson, S.C.; one brother, John de Vitry of Lancaster, Pa. and Seville, Spain; one sisters, Dr. Guillermine de Lacoste Lareymondie of Cambridge, Mass., seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 She was predeceased by her parents, two brothers and two sisters.

 A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, September 2, at 11 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church in Northfield. A wake will be held at the family home on Turkey Hill at 134 Donahue Drive from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday.

   The family is handling the arrangements.



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