DONAHUE, Douglas J.
We are sad to say our beloved father Douglas Donahue passed away September 25, 2020 exactly six months after losing his wife of 72 years, Dee Marie (March 25, 2020, also pictured). Some say he died of a broken heart.
He was born on "Douglas" Street in Wichita, Kansas, while his parents were traveling from Minnesota to California, to begin their new life in the West.
Growing up with his siblings Dolores and Leo, he was the ultimate California boy, camping in the San Gabriel Mountains, and body surfing in the Pacific. At 16, he drove his Model A across the Pasadena Freeway on its opening day in 1940.
WWII followed. Doug volunteered for the Navy, while his mother was a "Rosie the Riveter" at the McDonnel Douglas' aircraft plant. He never saw her again. During officer training, she collapsed and died at age 39. Doug was later assigned to command landing craft for the invasion of Japan. After Japan surrendered, he transported troops back from the Pacific.
Returning to school, Doug met his future wife, Dee Marie Moore, at the University of Oregon. They married in 1948 and remained devoted partners for 72 years. Doug earned his PhD in Nuclear Physics at the University of Wisconsin and moved to Washington to work on General Electric's nuclear reactor. He loved Academia, took a professorship at Penn State University and, in 1963, began a 37 year career at the University of Arizona, including time as Chairman of the Physics Department.
Doug was a pioneer in Carbon 14 dating. In 1983, he assisted in establishing the USA's first accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon laboratory. He radiocarbon dated materials across the world including dating the Shroud of Turin to the 14th Century and the Dead Sea Scrolls to the 1st Century.
Doug's career was Physics, but his passion was his family and community. He taught the value of hard work, education, community engagement, compassion and generosity and choreographed family travels across the United States, Mexico and Europe, including sabbaticals in Oxford and Munich. He served with the Sam Hughes Neighborhood Association and was president of the St. Vincent DePaul Conference. He was an active tennis and badminton player into his nineties, competed in the Arizona Senior Olympics, and medaled in the National Senior Olympics in 2001 and 2007.
Doug is survived by his sister, Dolores; children, Mary, Patrica, Margaret, Shivaun and Doug; grandchildren, Lorna, Jack, Theo, Andrew, Tim, Tom, Sean, Ian and Ana Maria and great-grandchildren, Evelyn, Justino and Jack. A funeral mass and celebration of life will be held in Tucson for Dee and Doug when Covid is behind us. Donations can be made in Doug's memory to St. Vincent De Paul at Saints Peter and Paul, Tucson.
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Published by Arizona Daily Star on Oct. 25, 2020.