Nathaniel D. Donaway, Sr. of Anchorage died Tuesday, December 25, 2012 in Providence Horizon House due to complications from Alzheimer's.
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Nat, born May 14, 1930 in Parkersburg, WV., was the oldest of 7 children. He began working at 9 years old as a shoe shine boy at the Chancellor Hotel, a job he would hold for many years so he could help his family. It was his tenacious work ethic that propelled him out of poverty to financial success as a Realtor.
A gifted athlete, he was a basketball star in the all black Sumner High School and later played for winning teams for the U.S. Air Force.
After graduating from high school, Nat attended barbering college before enlisting with the U. S. Air Force. While in the Air Force he supplemented his income as a barber and it was not uncommon for him to hold multiple jobs throughout his life.
He married his high school sweetheart, Regina Mae Jones in 1950. Their 62-year union produced three children, Danielle Allen of Gulfport, FL; Nate Donaway Jr. of Anchorage, AK; and Patti Luddington of Anchorage, AK; and four grandchildren.
He was a veteran of the Viet Nam war and his military career took him and his family to live in Virginia, Michigan, England, North Carolina, New Mexico and finally Alaska.
Upon leaving the Air Force, he became a successful Realtor during Alaska's oil boom years. But he gave up his hard working ways when his first grandchild was born. His grandchildren made him understand the importance of family.
He and Regina loved Alaska, fishing in the summers, traveling by motor home to Seward and cruising whenever they could. Nat remained physically fit, bowling and lifting weights, until he became ill. He will be remembered as hard working and the epitome of the American dream.
He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren.
His family extends special thanks to the caring Providence Horizon House staff and Dr. Brian A. Laufer, Nat's long-time Veterans Administration physician and Dr. Jonathan Mueller with the VA home based primary care program. Also, special thanks to the kind Providence Hospice Care Team for their care in his final days.
A public visitation will be held at 10 a.m. with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m., Friday, January 4 at Witzleben Funeral Home in Anchorage. Burial will follow at the Ft. Richardson National Cemetery.
Published in adn.com from Jan. 3 to Jan. 4, 2013