Ronald Donahue

Ron passed away in Boulder, June 14th from the affects of AML Leukemia. Ron was born in Fremont, Nebr., on May 9, 1934. He graduated from Fremont High in 1952. He was a multi sports star in football, basketball, and tennis. He quarterbacked the only undefeated team in Fremont history and was Captain of the basketball team that won the State Championship in 1951 and was runners up in 1952. He earned all-conference, all- tournament, and all-state honors. In later years, he was named to Fremont High School's football and basketball Hall of Fame. Ron graduated from Midland University in 1956 with a degree in Business Administration, Cum Laude. He won the Wall Street Journal Award for top Business student. He served as Vice-President of the Student Council, President of his fraternity, Chairman of the Intramural Board, and a three year member of Blue Key National Honor Society. Ron was recognized in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. He won 13 Letters in football, basketball, tennis and track. He received the Petrow Award as the university's outstanding athlete in 1955 and was awarded the Omaha World Herald College Athlete of the Year for 1955. Ron was named to the Midland Athletic Hall of Fame as a charter member. Ron served as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and was an Aviation Ordinance Officer and Special Weapons Courier for the 1st Marine Air Wing, Iwakuni Japan. He was active in service sports and won championships in tennis, table tennis, and badminton as well as being a member of the base tennis team in Quantico and on the basketball team at Whiting Field, Pensacola. He was Marine Corp Champion in tennis for Japan and runner up in the All Naval Forces Tournament. Ron served with honors during 1955-1959 with the United States Marine Corp. His service to his country and being a Marine were something that he took great pride in his entire life. On discharge from active duty in 1959, he was employed by the Ford Motor Company as a Business Management Analyst for three years. He met his wife Beverly at a Midland dance and they married in April 1960. He was employed as Supt. of Parks for the City of Fremont for five years. He was a member and President of the Nebraska Recreation and Parks Association. Ron enrolled at Michigan State University Graduate School where he earned a MS Degree in Resource Management with Highest Honors in 1968. Upon graduation, he was Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Southfield, Mich. During his tenure he was responsible for the construction of a major ice rink and swimming complex that received a National Award. He also served on the Governors Committee for Recreation Standards. Ron assumed the duties of Park Superintendent for the City of Boulder in June 1969. He retired in July 1995. During that time the City Parks increased in number from 14 to 56. He was Resource Manager for Open Space until 1984 when open space formed its own department and split off from its parent organization, Parks and Recreation. He was Resource Manager that supervised City and Mountain Parks, Pearl Street Mall, Flatirons Golf Course and Boulder Reservoir. His involvement with professional activities led many to consider him "the pros pro". Among his numerous awards were CPRS Dedicated Service Award 1977, CPRS Fellow Award 1978, Midwest Appreciation Award 1982, and Citations for his involvement in founding the Midwest Revenue School, Midwest Design and Planning School, Safety School and Midwest Executive Development School. The American Park and Recreation Association gave him the National Meritorious Service Award in 1987 and the National Parks and Recreation Association gave him the National Distinguished Fellow Award in 1991. This is the highest award of NRPA. He co-authored two books on parks management and was on the committee that produced the first test for Registered Professionals. He served on the NRPA Board for six years and was National Treasurer for two years. During his term as President of CPRA in 1977 he put together the Committee to establish a State Lottery which unquestionably was the force that resulted in passing the Law and later established Go Colorado. He taught an evening class at CU from 1972 to 1982 in Recreation Finance. He was a consultant for Parks Master plans in a number of locations in the US and Canada. He served on the Colorado Parks and Recreation Foundation and was a board member of the Colorado Garden and Home Show for 20 years. In 1993 Midland University gave him the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. After retirement Ron became a master fly tyer and his creations supported many cancer and youth groups as well as Trout Unlimited. Ron is survived by his wife Beverly; son Steven and daughter-in-law Cheryl and grandson Parker Sean. His sister Cheryl lives in Superior, Nebr. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date in Boulder and burial will be at Ft. Logan National Cemetery in Denver with Military Honors.


Published in The Daily Camera on June 18, 2014