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Dane Donnelly

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Dane Donnelly Obituary
Dane H. Donnelly

Great Falls — Dane Hollis Donnelly, 67, passed away at Benefis Hospital after a stroke on Sunday, October 20, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.

His memorial service will be at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Dane was born on June 13, 1946 in Cartersville, Georgia to Charles and Bonnie (Morris) Donnelly. He graduated from Murphy High School in 1964 and joined the US Navy. He served four tours in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Yorktown as a radar controller. He married Nancy Robinson in 1969. He left the Navy in 1973 and transferred to the US Air Force, with his first tour of duty at Malmstrom AFB, falling in love with the Great Falls area. Following tours at Sembach, West Germany; Denver, Colorado, and Hofn, Iceland, all during the height of the Cold War, Dane returned to Malmstrom in 1984 and retired from the USAF in 1986. He then worked in a variety of jobs around Great Falls before retiring again in 2011.

Dane was one of the founders of the Malmstrom AFB Museum, and was the chief model builder there until the end of his life; he also contributed to the Poletto Collection at the Great Falls Airport, as well as being very active with the Treasure State Model Club, working at the club's State Fair booth every year since 1984. He was also quite active with the Great Falls Ultreya community and at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. He was a past member of the Knights of Columbus. Dane was a proud veteran and was a lifetime member of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots' Association and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and gave talks about his service and on other topics of history at local colleges. He especially enjoyed taking road trips around the Pacific Northwest with his sons.

Dane was liked and respected by all he met and loved to share his vast knowledge of history, which inspired both his sons to get degrees in that field. He would often build models for friends and family free of charge, just for the fun of it. One of his acquaintances once remarked that one always came away from a conversation with Dane smarter than before. He will be deeply missed by all that knew him.

Dane is survived by Nancy Donnelly-Poletto, sons Benjamin and Matthew Donnelly, brothers Andrew and Timothy Donnelly, sister Bonnie Garrett, sister-in-law Paula Donnelly, and brother-in-law Larry Garrett. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Bonnie, his brother Mark, and devoted dog friend Mukluk.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots' Association's scholarship fund at, PO Box 1553, Front Royal, VA 22630-0033.

Condolences for the family may be posted online at

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Oct. 23, 2013
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