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The Story of a Chaplain and a Nurse

August 13, 2004

It was a classic boy-meets-girl story for the Donovans. Texas-born Bill Donovan, '55, came to OBU from Oklahoma City and met Shawnee native Peggy Galloway, '53. Their first kiss was on the OBU campus, and Bill proposed to Peggy on the lawn in front of Shawnee Hall.

Peggy completed her freshman year at OBU in 1947, and then moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where she entered nurses training at Baptist Hospital. In 1952, after she passed her state board exams, she came back to OBU as one of the campus nurses. The Donovans married in August 1953. Bill was still a student and also served as pastor of Musson Baptist Church, east of Shawnee.

From Shawnee, they moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Bill pursued a master of divinity degree, and in between child rearing, Peggy supported the growing family by working as a nurse. The Donovans returned to Oklahoma in 1959, and Bill was pastor of Vamoosa Baptist church near Konawa while Peggy "trained three small children in the ways preachers' kids should act."

From Konawa, they moved to Leedey, where Bill was pastor of First Baptist Church, and Peggy was a homemaker and an unofficial rural healthcare provider. He was called as pastor of First Baptist Church, Erick in 1966, and spent one day a week in Oklahoma City assisting the chaplain at the Baptist Medical Center with group counseling. "That was when I became convinced my future was in chaplaincy," says Bill. Peggy worked at Sayre Hospital part time.

The Donovans then moved from rural Oklahoma to Houston, Texas, where Peggy worked at Baptist Memorial Hospital East and Bill was a chaplain intern at the Institute of Religion, Texas Medical Center, and at the Texas Department of Corrections. "I had no interest in pursuing work as a prison chaplain at the time," says Bill, "but it became a major element of my career in ministry."

From 1970-73, the Donovans worked together at Valley Baptist Hospital in Harlingen, Texas, where Bill was chaplain and coordinator of the volunteer staff and Peggy was in-service director. They moved to McAllen, Texas in 1973, when Bill accepted the pastorate at Trinity Baptist Church in McAllen. Peggy began work as a staff nurse at McAllen General Hospital and was soon promoted to in-service director.

Bill went to McAlester, Oklahoma, in 1975, where he assumed the position of senior chaplain at Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Now, Bill and Peggy had three children in college and one in graduate school, and Bill began to pursue a doctorate while Peggy worked as a staff nurse at West Hospital. When a new Regional Hospital was built she was named in-service director.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections realized a need to set standards for prison religious programming in 1983, and Bill and Peggy moved back to Shawnee. Bill commuted to Oklahoma City in his new position of administrator of religious programs for the Department of Corrections. They left Oklahoma once again in 1986 to move to Atlanta, Georgia, where Bill served as director of institutional and business-industrial chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board. Peggy worked as a staff nurse at DeKalb General Hospital until she "hung up her cap and sensible white shoes and retired" in 1994.

Retirement brought the Donovans home to Shawnee in 1995, where they are active in First Baptist Church. Bill continues to serve as chaplain part time at Angelic Family Hospice and Heartland Hospice in Shawnee. They spend hot Oklahoma summers in South Fork, Colorado, in a home they built themselves.

The Donovans have four children, all of whom attended OBU: Cynthia Donovan-Wallis, ex '79; Stephen Donovan, ex '80; Rebecca Donovan-Bushong, '79; and Lori Donovan, ex '86.

Click the following link to view a full list of previous Profile in Excellence recipients.