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In loving memory of
David E. Donaldson
  • December 12, 1940
  • -
  • January 23, 2021

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Obituary

David E. Donaldson passed away on January 23, 2021 as the result of a horrendous rear-end collision. Dave was born in Eaton Rapids, Michigan on December 12, 1940. He grew up in the village of Brooklyn, Michigan and graduated from Brooklyn High School in 1958. He attended Eastern Michigan College and Jackson Community College; followed by his career in banking with the National Bank of Jackson for 21 years and Comerica Bank for 20 years.

He was active in professional and community activities. Dave was a member of Kiwanis, Michigan Bankers Association and American Bankers Association. In the 1960’s and 1970’s he served as treasurer of both the Village of Brooklyn and Columbia Township in Michigan.

Dave loved barbershop singing and was an active member in the Gulf Coast Harmonizers, serving on the Board; and sang with the Sunsations and Gloryland Way quartets. An avid golfer, he was an active member of Heritage Palms Golf and Country Club in Fort Myers, Florida, and served on its Master Board as treasurer for 15 years.

Dave was preceded in death by his mother and father Ralph & Mildred Donaldson; his sister, Jo Ann Walter; and his wife of 31 years, Jeanne.

He is survived by his loving wife Arlene Foreman; his brother Robert Donaldson (Brenda); his cherished children Donna Howland (Jeff), Daniel (Bre), and Dana Rook; and his stepchildren whom he loved dearly Mark Skinner (Kathy) and Mary Cedotal. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren: Jacob Howland, Casey Howland, Kylee Howland-Jaime, Kali Howland Spoden, Kristina Howland, Michael Rook, Alyssa Martinez, Corey Skinner, Erin Skinner, Nick Garbacik, Noah Garbacik, Christopher Clemons, and Calieb Clemons; 13 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Those were his words – facts. He left out sports-enthusiast (fabulous golfer, 299 American Bowling Congress ring holder, Little League Baseball Coach, Intercity Basketball Coach, University of Michigan fan, and high school basketball and baseball player); musician (piano, trumpet, recorder and guitar player who shared his love of all kinds of music with his family); traveler (to Europe many times, to the British Open at all 10 of its modern sites, annually at Clark Lake with family and friends and the Ann Arbor Folk Festival with children and grandchildren, and all 8 reunions of his Brooklyn High School class); and photographer (always with his camera – and later cell phone – handy, he has left behind his entire lifetime of all of the above, to be reviewed, remembered and loved by all of us).

Our words can only skim the surface describing Dave the person – the man who did everything with total commitment. Extended family meant everything to him: “his”, “hers” “theirs” – everyone that was any part in any way of “family and friends” mattered to him.

Here is how we describe Dave: deeply loving, gentle, caring, generous, welcoming, embracing, unselfish, sharing, kindhearted, compassionate; adventurous, passionate, vibrant, exuberant, mischievous, witty, humorous, storyteller; intelligent, history-buff, curious, insightful, great listener; hard-working, serious, rational, dependable, dedicated; cultured, charming, dashing, civilized, sophisticated.

We will miss him terribly. He was truly one of God’s very special creations.

Burial and memorial will be later, in Michigan.


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  1. Blair Law says:
    06 Mar 2021
    Hello to the family.. I got to know Dave during my years of singing with the CAPE CHORALE...He was so very friendly, and so genuine, that he was a big factor in keeping us all together, and pulling in the right direction. I don't remember EVER having a negative thought about Dave .. he was always just so positive.. I'm older than he (Was) as I'm now 89.. nonetheless I must say I learned from his example.. There need to be more Daves in this world.... He sure made a difference!! You all can be proud.. Blair Law

  2. Phyllis and Berny Aronson says:
    02 Feb 2021
    Dave you were such a special man and it was our honor to "stand up" for you and Arlene when you got married. We will miss you and will be here to take care of Arlene. Rest in peace.

  3. John Messimer says:
    02 Feb 2021
    My dear and close friend of over 75 years. We shared many great times together, seeing each other almost daily in our early years. Played sports, attended college and served local government together. It is heartbreaking for us to see him no more. May the God who raised Jesus from the grave receive him in glory everlasting. Farewell my dear David.

  4. Mary Mackenzie lit a candle:
    29 Jan 2021
    Lit since January 29, 2021 at 1:08:04 PM

  5. Michael says:
    29 Jan 2021
    Grandpa Donaldson will be very sorely missed by many. These words about his life and what he means to all of us have indescribable value.. It is hard to believe he’s gone. I know that I will often find myself awaiting the occasional call to catch up or recognizing the void of the visits we would have at Clark Lake, Folk Festival, beach bar, and more.. Things won’t be the same without him. I know that he would not want me to dwell on it. I will have to choose to be thankful, and cherish all the great memories we did have even if it seemed there would be more. Rest In Peace, until we meet again on our way to Heaven Grandpa Donaldson. With all my heart - Michael

  6. Al Higgins says:
    29 Jan 2021
    David you made me laugh, and took my money for years. The laffs were great, but the pleasure of the smile on your face when you took my money , was worth way more.
    I will miss tormenting you.
    It took me years to get you to relax when I hugged you - so here is one more!

  7. Lynne Thompson & Robert Beatty says:
    28 Jan 2021
    Such a tragic loss of a wonderful friend. Dave and Jeanne were some of the first friends we met and cherished when we moved to Heritage Palms in 2000. He gave a lot of himself for the betterment of our community and all as volunteer work. Rest in Peace, David, you will be greatly missed. Hugs, Lynne & Bob❤

  8. Beth Mikovits lit a candle:
    28 Jan 2021
    Lit since January 28, 2021 at 1:24:24 PM

  9. Bob Breisch says:
    28 Jan 2021
    How Dave died was such a sad and unnecessary tragedy. Heritage Palms has lost a long time friend and a major contributor in so many ways. Those who knew Dave as a friend and those who dealt with him in volunteer work know what a great loss we have suffered. Jane & Bob Breisch

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