STREATOR - Donald Paul Donelson, 89 of Phoenix, Ariz., formerly of Streator, passed away on Sunday, May 26, 2013, with family surrounding him.
Don was a true gentleman in every sense of the word, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He was born in Sacramento, Calif., on Sept. 29, 1923, to parents Leroy Earl and Mary (Nagel) Donelson, and raised in Detroit, Mich.
Don proudly joined the Navy in 1943, where he served on the USS Edward H. Allen, USS Wyoming and USS Adirondock and remained a member of the naval reserves until 1960. He attended Purdue University and graduated from the University of Detroit in 1949.
Then in 1950, Don relocated to Streator, Ill., and joined Illinois Fruit and Produce Corp. as General Manager. Through his extraordinary vision, leadership, and forward thinking, IFP enjoyed tremendous growth and expansion over 30 years. Don retired in 1982 and soon he and Loretta relocated to Phoenix, Ariz., to enjoy their passion for traveling overseas and his for fishing in remote lakes in Canada.
He was also a member of the Elks, VFW, American Legion and Knights of Columbus.
He is survived by his wife Loretta of 37 years; 10 children, Charles J. Donelson (Nancy) of Nokomis, Fla., Patrick A. Donelson of Covington, Ind., Richard J. Donelson (Cindy) of Indianapolis, Ind., James E. Donelson (Jeanette) Bulverde, Texas, Mary Sue Graham (Ron), Sunrise Beach, Mo., William F. Donelson (Allyson), Cave Creek, Ariz., Robert P. Donelson (Vicki) New Whiteland, Ind., Karen L. O'Reilly (Peter), Prescott Valley, Ariz., Susan D. Buzash (Brian) Chandler, Ariz., and Sally A. Ragusa, Phoenix, Ariz.; 31 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. Don is preceded in death by his previous wife, Lois Knapp Donelson.
His family will come together June 13 to remember, honor and celebrate his life in a private family ceremony. His final resting place will be at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.
Don's family would especially like to thank the caring, loving and compassionate caregivers of Scottsdale's Silverado Memory Care and Hospice of the Valley.
Contributions may be made to the
of Phoenix (alz.org.) in Don's name or the
. Arrangements entrusted to Messinger Indian School Mortuary.