Elwin L. "Irish" Donahoo

Elwin L "Irish" Donahoo

February 17, 1930 - November 18, 2020

On Wednesday, November 18, 2020, Irish Donahoo passed away at his home at the age of 90. He was surrounded by his family. Born in his home on February 17,1930, in Lincoln, NE to Paul and Bertha (Barnett) Donahoo, Irish was a life-long native of Lincoln, NE, and never moved far from his hometown. He was hardworking, a talented musician, frugal, and happy. He graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School in 1949 where he was voted the captain of his high school football team. On August 16, 1953, he married Betty Jean (Sharpnack). Betty and Irish raised their children in the first home they bought in 1957 and made this their lifelong home where he spent his final hours. Prior to a 40+ year career with Western Electric, Irish was employed by Miller & Paine. He was a member of Masonic Lodge #210, a Shriner, past commander of Mount Moriah Commandery 4 and member of Starcraft Chapter #307, OES.

He began his love for the steel guitar at the age of 8. He was inducted into America's Old Time Music Hall of Fame on October 6, 2012. He was the founding member of The Cornhusker Music Club in Louisville, NE. He was a member of multiple bands including The Country Outlaws, Rawhide, Country Caravan, and Country Pride, giving him the opportunity to play his steel guitar at numerous venues in Eastern Nebraska and Kansas. He had many offers to go play his steel guitar professionally, but he chose to stay in Lincoln to raise a family. He played all his instruments by ear, including the dobro, the mandolin, and guitar. He attended and performed with professional steel guitar musicians at The National Steel Guitar Convention over Labor Day weekends in St. Louis, MO, for several years, traveling with his wife and friends. He met and performed with Patsy Montana and Joe and Roselee Maphis. He had the honor of meeting and performing with Ernest Tubbs, steel guitar player.

He loved traveling to their cabin in Minnesota in their motorhome. Spending many summer weeks in Minnesota with his family. Later in his life, he enjoyed going out to eat and spending time with his family and friends. He always ended his phone calls with "I love you, bye-bye."

He was preceded in death by Betty Jean, his wife of 49 years, and survived by daughters: Sandy L Spooner(Terry), Patricia A Schmidt (Greg) all of Lincoln, NE. Sons: Jon (Linda) of Georgetown, FL, and Robert (Jolin) of Lincoln, NE. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law Llyod and Wilma Donahoo, Millard, NE, sister-in-law Priscilla Sharpnack, Greenwood, NE. Grandchildren Shannon Donahoo, Mikayla Obermier, Nash Schmidt, Sydney, Sawyer, and Sloan Donahoo, two great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, special friends Mary Woodcock friend and neighbor of 78 years and Donna Matthes. He was known as Papa to Nash, Sydney, Sawyer, and Sloan. Sydney described her Papa as loving. Sawyer described her Papa as caring. Sloan described his Papa as dynamic, sociable, and affectionate. Papa called Sloan his little "Irishman." He called Sydney and Sawyer his sweeties.

He was also preceded in death by his parents, infant brother Wesley, sister and brother-in-law Bonnie and Gene Kalkwarf, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Marilyn and John Erickson, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Kenneth "Lee" and Mary Sharpnack, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Laverna and Chuck Donahoo, brother-in-law Joseph Clyde Sharpnack Jr.

"Thank you for all the love you gave me. There could be no one stronger." Hank Williams Sr. We will miss you so much Dad and Papa.

Visitation will be Monday November 23, at the Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home 6800 S. 14th St from 5-7 pm. Private family services will be held Tuesday November 24, at 10 am and may be viewed on Facebook at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery, press like and then press videos. Memorials are suggested to the Shriners Hospital. Condolences online at lincolnfh.com

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Lincoln Journal Star on Nov. 22, 2020.
5:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.
Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home
6800 S 14TH ST, Lincoln, NE 68512
may be viewed on facebook at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery, press like and then press videos
Funeral services provided by:
Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home
Add a Message
9 Entries
My Dad Gaylord Long was in the carpool to Western Electric with Irish, he enjoyed his company and only good things to say about him.
Linda M Heckert
November 25, 2020
Linda Zenti
November 23, 2020
A wonderful musician, loved listening to him play. God shared him and his music with many. Comfort and prayers to his family.
Marjorie Schwabauer
November 23, 2020
Thinking of the family and sending lots of love and hugs. So many wonderful memories of music, family reunions and just getting together in Minnesota. Uncle Irish, you always have bear hugs! I will miss you deeply.
Linda Donahoo zenti
November 23, 2020
It was a joy to know Irish for over 70+ years. I have alot of wonderful memories through high school years and country music. It was a pleasure to know him. I share your grief. He will be missed!
Kristi J Green
November 23, 2020
Sympathy to "Irish's" family. Enjoyed many years of working with him at AT&T. He always was friendly and a hard worker.
Donna Michel Schwenck
November 22, 2020
We are saddened and will miss Irish at our family holiday gatherings that he attended with our mother, Ione, who was Irish's companion and sweetie the past 7 years. We will truly miss him and his many stories about his family and music.
Ione's daughters Karen, Kim and Kelly
November 22, 2020
Our condolences to the family. Irish was a kind gentle man. He worked with my father Richard Dormer at Western Electric and I knew him through Betty Jean. She was also a good kind person. My grandparents Frank and Alvina Morris my parents Richard and Bonnie Dormer. They will be together again in heaven. We are sorry for your loss may God give you comfort.
Rhonda Dormer Shipe
November 22, 2020
Sad to loose someone as awesome as Irish but I know he is playing beautiful music in heaven. Irish played His beautiful Steel for me off and on since the 80's. When ever he did a show in Louisville he always called me to come sing. He was so proud to be in the Hall of Fame.. He was the kindest person. Loved him dearly..
Rich and Ron Printz
November 22, 2020