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Donnell Rubay

1957 - 2018 Notice Condolences
Donnell Rubay Notice
April 3, 1957 - Aug. 2, 2018 Benicia Donnell Rubay, 61, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on the evening of Aug. 2. Donnell was born in Venezuela during her father's time there as a merchant seaman. She was raised in Hayward before her family moved to Alamo where she graduated from Monte Vista High School in 1975. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979 with a degree in Economics and went on to earn her law degree from UCLA in 1982. She then worked as a corporate attorney in San Francisco before turning to teaching English and, finally, to writing. As an author, Donnell combined her love of words with her love of history, publishing both historical fiction and biographies for children, teens and adults. Her picture book, STICKEEN: John Muir and the Brave Little Dog, garnered strong reviews and won the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Nature Book in 1998. Donnell and her husband, Jon Van Landschoot, celebrated their 25th anniversary this past May. They raised their daughter, Anastasia Heuer, in Benicia, the small town they all loved, in the historic home they all cherished. Donnell started her long tenure of political advocacy on the Benicia Library Board, fighting for the addition of Sunday hours. She went on to champion historic preservation and government transparency at the local level, including a run for mayor in 2003. She cared deeply for uncovering and preserving Benicia's history, tirelessly researching its former residents and sharing her findings with the community through her books, articles, events, and exhibits. Her passion and giddy enthusiasm for the town's history will be missed dearly. Donnell is survived by her husband, Jon; daughter, Anastasia; mother, Janice; brothers, Kenneth (Julie) and Joseph A. (Cindy); nephews, John and Nicholas; nieces, Alexa and Natalie. She is predeceased by her father, Joseph E. A memorial will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Commanding Officer's Quarters in the Benicia Arsenal. A small service will be held on the lawn followed by one of Donnell's favorite activities: afternoon tea with family and friends. In celebration of Donnell's great love of period clothing and hats, bright colors, and teatime attire, fanciful hats are encouraged. In lieu of flowers, please consider continuing Donnell's legacy with a donation to the Benicia State Parks Association for the Donnell Rubay Capitol Neighbors Speaker Series. Arrangements entrusted to Passalacqua Funeral Chapel, 707-745-3130. www.passalacquafuneralchapel.com.
Published in TimesHeraldOnline from Aug. 10 to Aug. 11, 2018
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