1939 - 2021
DONNIE GALE WILLIAMS Donnie Gale Williams (born January 10, 1939, Mount Vernon, IL) died peacefully at home July 11, 2021 in Henderson, NV at the age of 82. Donn ("Big Donn" as he was often called, to distinguish him from his daughter, "Little Dawn" in the Midwestern accent that often caused confusion between the two) was a big man, both physically - at over 6'5" he towered over most - and in personality. His broad sense of humor, his zest for life, his strong work ethic, and his generosity of spirit were a joy to everyone who loved him, and source of consternation to those who didn't really like him. A talented and driven basketball player from a young age, Donn played Varsity basketball for the Mount Vernon Township High School Rams, and graduated with the Class of '57. He then attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque on basketball scholarship for his first year before returning home to help care for his mother, Aline (Wells) Williams, who passed away in the summer of 1960. He graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky in 1962 with a degree in Education, followed by a Masters of Education from Southern Illinois University in 1965, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champagne in 1970. He then worked in various educational administrative positions, including Superintendent of Grandview Heights school district in Columbus, OH, Associate Superintendent of Amphitheater School District in Tucson, AZ, and Superintendent of Vail School District in Vail, AZ. After leaving the education system, Donn pursued a law degree, obtaining his J.D. from the University of Arizona in 1989, and passing the bar that same year. He joined the Arizona School Boards Association in 1990, working with them until 2009, when he began working with the New Mexico School Boards Association providing policy advice to schools all over the state as Policy Services Director until his death. Over the years, Donn was an active member of a number of philanthropic organizations, including the Masons, the Lions Club, and the Rotary Club. He maintained his athletic edge through involvement with basketball leagues, by golfing, and it is rumored that he could whip the younger guys in pickleball well into his 80s. He touched many lives and he will be remembered with love. He is survived by his sister Michelle (Hugh), beloved wife Julie, son Scott (Katie), daughter Dawn (Michael), and granddaughter Caitlin. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make donations to the charity of your choice.

Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Jul. 18, 2021.
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