Joseph C. Donnelly Jr., 81, of West Chester, a retired surgeon, died of vascular dementia Saturday, May 14, at home.

From 1965 to 1980, Dr. Donnelly was a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon at Lankenau Hospital, and from 1980 to 1992, he was on the staffs of St. Joseph Medical Center and Community General Hospital, both in Reading.

For five years before retiring in 1997, he taught residents from Jefferson Medical College at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilmington.

Dr. Donnelly grew up in West Oak Lane. His father was a physician and his mother a nurse. He graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School and attended St. Joseph's College for two years.

After graduating from the Temple University School of Medicine, he completed his general surgery training at Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

He then served in the Navy for two years as a medical officer aboard the aircraft carrier Lexington and as a staff surgeon in Navy hospitals in Rhode Island and Newfoundland.

After his discharge in 1963, he completed a residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Michigan Medical Center.

Dr. Donnelly was a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Chest Physicians, the Medical Alumni of St. Joseph's University, and the Laennec Society of Philadelphia, a group of health professionals interested in lung diseases. He was a member of several other medical organizations and cowrote articles for professional journals.

Dr. Donnelly married Mary Moesta in 1965. They raised a family in Wynnewood and Wyomissing, Pa. He was a fishing and boating enthusiast and taught his children to water-ski on Blue Marsh Lake near Reading. He also enjoyed travel, especially a family trip to Ireland in 1996.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Donnelly is survived by a son, Joseph III; daughters Mary Catherine and Ann Marie; two grandchildren; and a sister.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at SS. Peter and Paul Church, 1325 Boot Rd., East Goshen, where friends may call after 9:30. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken.