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ROBERT DONNER Jr.

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ROBERT DONNER Jr. Obituary

DONNER, ROBERT, JR.1930-2010 Businessman, philanthropist and sportsman Robert Donner Jr., died in Colorado Springs on January 13, following a long struggle with Leukemia (CLL). He leaves behind his devoted family and wife of 51 years, Joan Cogswell Donner. The longtime resident of The Springs was born in Buffalo, New York on September 25, 1930 to the late Robert and Margaret (Hunter) Donner. The family moved to Colorado Springs in 1939. He was an alumnus of Brooks School, Andover, MA, attended Yale University for two years and graduated from Colorado College in 1954. Of his military service he mentioned that as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps from 1953 until 1956, his artillery battery "sent a lot of lead down range but none was in anger and no one got hurt." For more than 20 years, Bob's principal business interest was radio stations in Colorado Springs (KYSN), Denver (KIMN), Portland, and Laramie. He sold his interests in radio in 1975 to pursue other enterprises. Bob Donner was widely known and respected in the automotive world, having competed professionally throughout the country with great success in sports car racing driving Porsches. In addition to winning the Pikes Peak Hill Climb with Porsche 3 times, Bob also campaigned numerous drives at the Classic 12 Hours of Sebring with a onetime appearance for Chaparral Cars until finally settling with his favorite Prancing Horse, Ferrari. He was a Director of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb from 1979-1991, and President from 1988 to 1990. Bob was inducted into the Colorado Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He founded and served as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Ferrari Club of America. Bob was a dedicated member of the Boards of the family foundations established by his grandfather, William Henry Donner, serving the William H. Donner Foundation and the Donner Canadian Foundation for more than five decades. He was also Director of the First National Bank of Colorado Springs and its successors, Affiliated Bank and Bank One, 1966 1993, Ski Country USA, Denver, in the 1960s; the Webb Waring Lung Institute of Denver, Colorado College, 1969 -1993, and was a founding member of the "Wine Bibbers" in 1974, and numerous other clubs and organizations, with so many dear friends from around the world. Bob loved the Buffalo Bill Historic Center in Cody, Wyoming and was a long time member of its firearms board. To his children and grandchildren, "Papa was an extremely generous man who loved his family and friends. He was a competitor, a steady hand and sharp eye with pistol and shotgun, a successful businessman and well read on most everything, especially World War II military history. He liked his bacon crisp, flat and blotted, and his eggs just right, and don't forget the orange marmalade. He had a keen interest in anything that kept time, projected light or held a razor sharp edge. If it was sleek, fast and powerful, color casehardened, blued or checkered, it caught his admiring eye." He was preceded in death by his son Robert Donner, III, in 1989, and his sister Margaret (Donner) Spencer. He is survived by his wife, Joan (Cogswell) Donner, daughter Deborah Donner of Denver, son David William Donner and his wife Meredith Webber Donner of Colorado Springs. Five grandchildren: Brittany Donner Roy of Boston, Dillon Cogswell Roy of Denver, Alexa Caraway Donner, Ava Margaret Donner and Reeve Meredith Donner, all of Colorado Springs. A memorial service will be held in Colorado Springs at Shove Chapel on the Colorado College campus on January 22 at 10:00 A.M. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Chapel of our Savior, 8 4th St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80906, or to Shove Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave., Colorado Springs, CO., 80903, or the B-Chronic CLL program under direction of Dr. Neil E. Kay at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Published in DenverPost.com on Jan. 17, 2010
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