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Donald Leo Lucas

1930 - 2020
Donald Leo Lucas Obituary
Donald Leo Lucas
March 18, 1930 - December 27, 2019
Donald Leo Lucas was born March 18, 1930, in Upland, California to Mary and Leo Lucas, and resided in Atherton, California up until his passing. He attended Chaffey High School Ontario, California and received a football scholarship to Stanford University. Don, affectionately known as "Luke" during college played both offensive and defensive lines. He received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1951 and subsequently, his M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1953. He served in the U.S. Army for two years and was stationed in Germany before returning to New York to embark upon what would be a remarkable and impactful career.
Don worked in the Corporate Finance Department of Smith Barney & Company in New York for four years. He then spent seven years as both a general and a limited partner with Draper, Gaither & Anderson, the first venture capital firm on the West Coast. He made his first investment in 1957, raising half of the initial equity financing for National Semiconductor Corporation. From 1967 onwards, Don was an independent venture capitalist, a pioneer of Silicon Valley.
Over the course of his career, Don served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Oracle Corporation, the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Cadence Design Systems, Inc. and was a Director of over 20 public and private companies including Dexcom, Coulter Pharmaceutical/GSK, HBO and Company, Macromedia/Adobe Systems and 51jobs.
Actively involved in educational and community programs, Don contributed to the Stanford University Alumni Association, co-founded the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy and Research (SIEPR), and the Humanities and Sciences Council. He served as a Trustee of the University of Santa Clara, Chairman of the Board of Regents for Bellarmine College Preparatory and on the board of Sacred Heart Preparatory in Atherton.
Don was a man larger than life, a towering figure overwhelming in his intellectual depth and passion. He was a lifelong avid reader and he loved games involving strategy and numbers, most especially dominoes. Sports, adventure and fitness were an integral part of his life and he enjoyed golf, water and snow skiing, snowmobiling, white water rafting, and jogging. A man in constant motion he was thoughtful, kind, generous of heart and mind, and a man who understood that every person deserves respect and compassion. He led by his example of being good by doing good. He was a devoted Catholic and a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Don is predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Lygia, and their infant son, John Anthony. He leaves behind an older brother, John Lucas, three children Nancy Lucas Thibodeau, Alexandra Lucas Ertola, and Donald Alexander Lucas, nine grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and countless friends and colleagues. The family would like to acknowledge and thank Don's primary caregivers Maritza, Pedro and Fine for their care, compassion, and affection.
Those wishing to honor Don may make a gift in his memory to the Donald L Lucas Football Scholarship Fund, a scholarship that supports Stanford football student-athletes. Gifts can be sent to Stanford Athletics Development, 641 East Campus Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-6150.

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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 12, 2020
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